Posts tagged ‘calling’

What Are Your Callings?

I don’t know about you, but I tend to get pretty stressed out about life.  My to-do lists just never seem to end, and there are never enough hours in the day.  I work from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.  Reminds me of my Great Aunt Bertha.  “I work!”  She cranked out with her wrinkled, old finger pointing in general at anyone and everyone.  “I work!”  I don’t have a clue how old she was, but I swear it must have been near 200!

Okay!  Seriously!  Back to my point.  All this work wears me out.  I feel defeated before I even climb out of bed in the morning.  Everything that really matters gets pushed aside so that I can get done the stuff that somehow has been given more importance.  So the other day when I read ” But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd,” (Matthew 9:36), I actually cried.

In that moment, I was the crowd that Jesus saw before Him.  I was weary, worn out, and lost.  I was without my shepherd because I had allowed the business of life to drag me away from Him.  I didn’t have His strength or His guidance or His comfort.  I cried out to Him and confessed my failures.  In particular was the guilt over not being obedient to His calling in my life in the past while.  But in this time of prayer, God revealed something to me about His callings that I have just never given credit to before.

Many years ago, when my older boys were little, someone in Sunday School told me that my calling was to take care of my boys and raise them up to know God.  It bothered me a lot that I had not discovered my true calling from God.  It bothered me some, too, that this person thought my calling was just being a mom.  I had much bigger spiritual aspirations.  And a calling from God would naturally be spiritual, right?  All these years I have never viewed my role as their mom as a calling from God.  And in those years, I have actually received more “spiritual” callings.  But last week, as I fretted to God over not staying true to His calling, He revealed to me two things.  First, He had given me more than one calling.  They are different from each other.  Some with longer commitment times than others, and some with more sacrifice and work than others.  But all callings from Him are to be met with my obedience.  Second, God revealed to me that being a wife, and a mother, and a teacher, and a daughter, and a sister, and an aunt, etc. are all callings from Him.  He has put me in all of these positions with a purpose for me to fulfill in each one for His honor and glory.  While I have been struggling to be the daughter who lives 450 miles from her dad with ailing health, and being the mom who tries to home school her son with autism and still be a good mom to the other 3 boys and a good wife to her husband, and the teacher who has a caseload that is too big for one person to handle, and the…and the…, I have not viewed these as callings from God.  They were not “spiritual” enough for me, I guess.  And so, I have not sought the help from God that I needed.

In Zechariah, Zerubbabel was laboring with the people of Israel over re-building the Temple of God.  But they were trying to do it all on their own.  And God had a message for Zerubbabel, and for us, too.  We have quoted it many times:  “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts,” (Zech. 4:6).

We are not going to succeed in any of our callings without the Spirit of God, our Shepherd when we are weary and scattered.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  What are the many ways that God has called you according to His purpose?  They will all work together for good.  God will see to that.  But it would really be helpful to us if we remember that we aren’t the ones who will make it work.  Not with our own power or might, for we are weary and weak, worn out, but by the strength and power of the Spirit of God working in and through us.  Acknowledge your callings before God, and then rest in His care as He works through you for His purposes.

God bless and merry Christmas!

Jesus on the Kingdom & Power of God, the Spirit, & Our Service

The Gospel of Luke is a wonderful resource.  Written by a non-Jewish doctor who had a love for facts, it is clear, precise, no frills.  A historian’s dream.  And yes, I am a mild to moderate historian:-)  I have a degree to teach history, even though I have not taught it outside of my student teaching days in college.  Luke does a wonderful job of capturing Jesus’ teachings.  It is something like reading the compilations of a great philosopher.  A book of teachings by Socrates, or Plato.  Except, of course, Luke is a compilation of the teachings of the greatest teacher ever to walk on this planet, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The teachings are connected.  One verse here, then later the topic comes up again, but with a twist…another piece of a puzzle that equals a whole picture…the complete message that Jesus was teaching.  Like any puzzle that is put together over time, it is great fun to gather enough pieces to see a clear picture of one part of the whole.  That is what I have for you today.  Pieces that will present part of a whole.

I will start with the very familiar verses of Luke 11:8-10, but then add to that verse 13.  Watch where this goes.  Jesus begins with a story about a man who receives surprise visitors during the night and goes to his friend to borrow a few loaves of bread, but the friend refuses to get out of bed to get them.   “I tell you, if friendship is not enough to make him get up to give you the bread, your BOLDNESS will make him get up and give you whatever you need.  So I tell you, ASK, and God will give to you.  SEARCH, and you will find. KNOCK, and the door will be opened for you.  Yes, everyone who asks will receive.  The one who searches will find.  And everyone who knocks will have the door opened….How much more your heavenly Father will give the HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask him!”

Puzzle piece number one:  anyone who asks, searches, knocks…with boldness (don’t be afraid because God wants to give this to you)…will receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit.  (I didn’t write the Holy Spirit twice by accident.)

Skip ahead a few verses to where Jesus is defending the power by which he casts out demons.  Verse 20 says:  “But if I use the POWER OF GOD to force out demons, then the KINGDOM OF GOD has come to you.”

Hold on to that.  Look at Luke 12:32 – “Don’t fear, little flock, because your Father wants to give you the KINGDOM.

Puzzle piece number two:  The KINGDOM OF GOD is the POWER OF GOD given to us.

Puzzle piece number 3:  How does the Father give us the Power of God?  The Kingdom of God?  Through the Holy Spirit, whom He tells us to boldly ask, search, and knock to find and receive.

Let’s bring these pieces together for the why.  God doesn’t give us His power through the Holy Spirit, making the presence of His kingdom here on earth just for the fun of it.

Luke 12:35, followed by Luke 12:48b:  “Be dressed, ready for service, and have your lamps shining.”  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.  And from the one trusted with much, much more will be expected.”

Puzzle piece number 4:  We have each been called to service to the King.  God has a calling for you.  (If you have not figured out what that is, the quickest, easiest way to find out is to tell God you surrender all of you to Him, and ask Him to do with your life what He wills.  Believe me, He will take that and run with it.)  God expects you to be faithful and obedient in the calling He has given you.  If you are called to serve coffee between Sunday School and the service at your church, do it with all the muster you have.  Ask, seek, knock and receive the Holy Spirit who will open doors while you serve Him in this area.  But be faithful!  And obedient!  When you have the Holy Spirit within you, you have the power of God.  You carry His kingdom in this world.  If you minister to a flock, minister with faithfulness and obedience!  No matter what God has called you to do, do it knowing that you are accountable for that calling.

Puzzle piece number 5:  This is the piece that connects the little picture-within-a-picture to the rest of the puzzle.  The piece that has the last color of the picture are working on, and also has more that makes you know there is more to be done.  Luke 12:43 – “When the master comes and finds the servant doing his work, the servant will be blessed.”  Do your work now, because you don’t know when Jesus will return.  It will be soon.  When Jesus appears in the sky to call His own to Him, will you be caught with your pants down, or will you be dressed and serving Him?

The picture put together today?  Ask for the Holy Spirit with boldness…and God will gladly give Him to you…because the Spirit brings with Him the Kingdom of God, which is the power of God…so that we can serve God in what He has called us to do in faithfulness and obedience…while we wait, expectantly, ready, for the return of Jesus…and will receive His blessing.

 

When The Spirit Calls

What is your calling?  If you are a follower of Christ, God has a job for you.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:4- 11 (ESV) that there are many Spiritual gifts.  The list here is not exclusive, but a sampling.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

He also stresses that each member of the Church is a part of the body  (1 Corinthians 12:14-20).  As we all know, if one part of the body does not do it’s work, life becomes considerably more complicated for the rest of the body.  There may even be times when, because of the inability to use a certain part of the body, the body as a whole will be unable to carry out a given task at all.   For example, my parents are both blind.  The part of their bodies that see (their eyes), do not work.  It is impossible for them to use a camera to take a picture.  We have few family photos available to us.  Most are those that were taken by extended family members at big family gatherings.  When I was old enough to have a camera, my parents gave one to me, and after that time, we have more printed proof of our existence.  Prior to that, taking pictures was just something that my parents could not do.   People with disabilities exist all over the world.  And, for the most part, they are able to lead normal, productive lives.  But there are always some things that they just can’t do.  It is a fact of life.

When you put this into the perspective of the church, that is very disconcerting, however.  Imagine parts of the church body refusing to do the work they are given.  This is a big body, the Church.  If large numbers of Christians decide that they are just going to come along for the ride, how many things are we collectively unable to accomplish for the Lord?  Could God call in someone else to do your job, answer your calling in place of you?  Sure He could, and He does!  God can do anything.  My parents did receive pictures taken by family members and friends…but their were gaps.  None of them lived with us.  No one was there to take a picture of my first steps, or the first time I rode a bike.  When God needs to call someone else to fill in for you, what gaps are there in the work He has called you to?  Consider this.  When God calls someone to fill your shoes, who fills the shoes of the person who has to fill yours?  Do you see my point?

What if Mary, the mother of Jesus, had chosen not to receive God’s calling?  I know, I know.  God would have chosen someone else.  Yes.  And He would have made it work.  God will always see that His will is done.  But there is something else.  What would Mary have missed out on?  Oh my!  How terribly sad she would have been to someday realize that she passed up the opportunity to be the mother of the very Son of God!!!!  Difficult as her calling was at times, she was so blessed by it as well.  More than I’m sure she could have ever imagined.

So what is the Spirit calling you to?  Consider the desires of your heart.  Is there some area that you have felt the Spirit’s nudging in?  Ask Him to reveal His will to you.  He is just waiting for you to be willing.  If you feel you have received a call, but are uncertain, ask God to confirm it for you.  Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel, but her cousin Elizabeth confirmed it when the Holy Spirit filled her and she recognized Mary as the mother of the Savior.  I know others, myself included, for whom God has provided a confirmation of their calling.  Don’t view asking for a confirmation as doubting God.  If you are truly seeking His leading, He call you in ways that are very clear, but He will also provide confirmation of His call in equally clear ways.

The next question is, will you obey His call?  Oh yes!  I did say that!  Obey.  Are you going to obey His call?  God has given you a spiritual gift, and a purpose.  To not use them for His service, His glory and honor, is to disobey His call in your life.  Consider the story of the 3 servants in Matthew 25:14-30.  Each servant was given a number of coins to use for the Master.  The first and second servants both doubled the coins they were given.  And the Master rewarded them.  The third, however, sat on his coins and did nothing.  The response of the Master was to call him a wicked and lazy servant!  His coins were taken away, and he was sent away, where he would have to anguish over his failure.  I don’t know about you, but that is not the response I want from my King!  It might be difficult to obey His calling.  It might be scary at times.  I have had to battle Satan on many occasions because he does not want me to obey God.  But I will be jiggered (my grandpa’s word) if I am going to stand before Jesus someday and be called wicked and lazy!  I desire nothing more than to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21).

I heard a pastor on the radio this week share a quote from an anonymous note he was given years ago.  “God’s commandments are our enablements.”  What a great quote!  You may think that you cannot do what God has asked of you.  You may be frightened by His call.  You may hear the doubts and lies that Satan fills your head with.  Do not forget this:  If God has called you to do something, He will give you whatever it takes for you to accomplish His will.  You are simply the tool for the work He will do through you.  God does not expect you to do this all by yourself!  Be bold!   Be faithful!  Answer His call now, and God bless you as you do!!!

walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus

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