Motivations to Call

Motivations to Call

…”Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Mark 10:49

Do you recall the circumstances when God first called you into relationship with Him? Were you in need of something? Were you in a crisis situation? Every day God calls someone into relationship with Him through different circumstances. More often than not, the circumstances relate to a need in their life that only God can meet.

Bartimaeus had the need to see again. He was a poor blind beggar, who had heard about Jesus and the miracles He had done. The crowds rebuked him for seeking Jesus, yet he continued to cry out. “Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’…Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus” (Mk. 10:48,50). That day, Bartimaeus saw for the first time. But more than that, he saw with spiritual eyes for the first time.

Each workday, we rub shoulders with someone who has not met this Jesus we know personally. God uses needs to draw us to Himself. What need has He placed in a coworker that only Christ can meet? Perhaps you are the instrument He wants to use to introduce that person to Himself. It requires availability and a willingness to look for people with needs, then point them to Christ to meet their needs. Pray for divine appointments today.

Defining Moments

Defining Moments

“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.”Acts 9:3

For Moses, it was the burning bush.

For Peter, it was walking on water.

For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it was walking through the burning furnace untouched.

For Paul, it was being blinded and spoken to by Jesus on the Damascus road. For Daniel, it was deliverance from the lions’ den.

For Joshua, it was parting the Jordan River and crossing into the Promised Land.

There have been many defining moments in the lives of human beings that changed their lives forever. These defining moments often set the course for the balance of their lives.

We could go on and on. Each of these servants had years of preparation leading up to their defining moment. These moments forced the servants to be involved in something beyond their human experiences. It took them outside their own paradigms of life. God had to move them outside their own boxes. And when He did, their lives were never the same.

You may be in one of three stages of life: You may not have had your “defining moment” yet – God may be preparing you with many important life experiences. You may have had your defining moment and you are living out your call. Or, you may be toward the end of your journey and you have already experienced what I speak of. We are all called to a relationship with God; and we are all called vocationally, which is often ushered in by a defining moment. And there can be more than one defining moment, each pointing you down a path that God foreordained from the foundation of the world. The secret of a great life is often a man’s ability to discern the defining moments given to him, understanding them, and learning to walk in the path that leads him to his ultimate destination.

Once you have had a defining moment, you are never the same. Pray that you have eyes to see and ears to hear when your Master brings a defining moment into your life.

Going Against the Flow

Going Against the Flow

“But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.” Numbers 14:10a

Have you ever had to stand up against the majority for a cause that wasn’t popular? God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and promised He would lead them into a land of milk and honey. The process of moving out of Egypt was difficult. They could no longer do things the old way, for the old ways didn’t work in the desert. God provided for them during this journey. But there came a point in which the people forgot what God had said. Their discomfort changed their belief about God.

Whenever God is slow to answer our prayers, what we believe about God is revealed. Do we change our plans and move in a different direction when pressure mounts? Or do we continue on the path God has directed for us? Four men believed what God said and were willing to stand; however, the crowd wanted to stone them.

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites (Numbers 14:5-10).

Notice Joshua and Caleb’s response to the situation. They had spied the land. They believed God. They challenged the crowd. They seemed to know that if the Lord was not pleased with them they would not enter into the Promised Land. Those who grumbled did not enter the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb and a new generation saw the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Has God called you to stand for a cause bigger than yourself? You will have opposition to His call; sometimes it even comes from those in your own camp. But if God has called you, then you can be sure He will make a way. He has already opened the way before you. But you must walk in faith, joined with Him to take the land. “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Puppy Love

Puppy Love

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.
Luke 17:15-16

Recommended Reading –¬†Luke 17:11-19

Last spring, a dog became stranded in the water at the bottom of a canal in Romania. A passerby, seeing the pooch whimpering and trying to climb to safety, scaled down the wall, jumped into the water, pulled the dog out by the scruff of its neck, and carried it back up to dry land. The dog ran away and shook itself; but then it quickly returned, ran to its rescuer, and showered the man with lots of nuzzles and licks. The video of the grateful canine became a sensation.

Sometimes we can learn a lot from our four-footed friends. Jesus once healed ten lepers, but only one came back with thanksgiving — and he was a Samaritan. Everyone who is in Christ has been rescued. We’ve been healed. We’re the most blessed people on earth. Some days may be harder than others, and some seasons of life might be tumultuous. But gratitude isn’t situational. It isn’t based on what we have or where we are, but on our relationship with the God who pulled us out of deep waters, set our feet on a rock, and put a new song of praise in our mouths.

When I praise Him, He is exalted in my life, and when He is exalted, I am happy and whole.
Vernon Whaley

Grace

Grace

…”Peace be with you!” John 20:19

How would you respond to a group of fellow workers if you were their leader and you poured your life into them, teaching them all you know for three years, only to have them disband and go their own way when troubles came? What would you say to them after you were reunited for the first time? Perhaps you might scold them. Perhaps you might cite each one’s offense. At the least, you might shame them for their lack of faithfulness and courage.

After Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, He appeared to the disciples. His first words to them were, “Peace be with you!” The word grace means “unmerited favor.” When someone loves you unconditionally, without regard to your behavior in return, it becomes a powerful force in your life. Such was the case for the disciples when Jesus appeared to them. They could have expected reprimand. Instead, they received unconditional love and acceptance. He was overjoyed to see them. They were equally overjoyed to see Him.

Jesus understood that the disciples needed to fail Him as part of their training. It would be this failure that became their greatest motivation for service. Failure allowed them to experience incredible grace for the very first time. Grace would transform them as human beings.

Have you experienced this grace in your life? Have you extended grace to those who have hurt you? Can you let go of any wrongs that have come through friends or associates? The grace you extend may change their lives – and yours.

Our Plans and God’s Plans

Our Plans and God’s Plans

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

Have you ever heard of someone who spent years of preparation for one vocation only to end up doing something completely different? Perhaps this could be said of you. Quite often we have in our minds what we believe we want to do only to have a course correction. Often the course correction comes through a major crisis that forces us into an area that we would never have considered.

Such was the case for Samuel Morse. Born in 1791, Morse grew up desiring to be an artist, and he eventually became very talented and internationally known. However, it was difficult to make a living as an artist in America during that time. A series of crises further complicated his vocational desire when his wife died; then his mother and father also died soon after. He went to Europe to paint and reflect on his life. On his return trip aboard a ship, he was captivated by discussions at dinner about new experiments in electromagnetism. During that important occasion, Morse made the following comment, “If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted by electricity.” In the face of many difficulties and disappointments, he determinedly perfected a new invention, and, in 1837, applied for a patent that became what we know today as the telegraph. He also created Morse code. It was only later, after many more setbacks and disappointments, that his projects received funding.

Samuel Morse later commented, “The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future, and I seem to hear a voice saying: ‘If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?’ Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence.” Morse went on to create several other inventions and can be recognized today as the father of faxes, modems, e-mail, the internet and other electronic communication. [“Glimpses,” Issue #99 (Worcester, Pennsylvania: Christian History Institute, 1998).]

God’s plans may not always seem to follow our natural inclination. Perhaps God has you taking a path that may not lead to His ultimate destination for you. Trust in the Lord, lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all you do, and He shall direct your path (see Prov. 3:5-6).

Grace to Help

Grace to Help

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Recommended Reading – Ephesians 3:1-8

Most people are familiar with the story of the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her three companions follow a yellow brick road to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz for what they need: Dorothy needed to get home to Kansas, the Scarecrow needed a brain, the Tin Man needed a heart, and the Cowardly Lion needed courage. They discover, of course, that the Wizard is a fraud.

But the idea of approaching a throne for help is much older than The Wizard of Oz. The writer to the Hebrews encouraged his readers to “come boldly to the throne of grace” to find “mercy” and “grace to help in time of need.” What else would one expect to receive at a throne of grace but grace? And therein lies an important theological and practical truth: Regardless of what we think we need in terms of help, we really only need one thing: the grace of God. When God pours out His grace, we receive what He knows we need: provision, endurance, wisdom & grace, patience, strength, resistance, courage, and more.

If you are facing a need right now, regardless of the specifics, go to the throne of grace and ask God for that which you are certain to receive: the grace of God.

They travel lightly whom God’s grace carries.
Thomas à Kempis