Monday, October 28, 2013

Are You Guilty of Profiling?


"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2Cor. 3:5

 

  I'll never forget the time I got a letter asking me to pray about going on a mission trip overseas. I tossed the letter in the trash immediately. I thought, "God is not calling me to go. I just know it!" 

Several weeks later, the director of our mission group asked if I'd prayed about the trip. I said I had not. He asked why  not. "Because I have no money to go."

 The wise leader gently answered, "My experience has been that if God wants you to go, He will provide the means to get there."

 I knew this was true. But I had other reasons for not considering the call. I had an idea in my head of the kinds of people who do those kinds of things. They are usually white, wealthy, young, and either married to a person who also has a call to foreign missions or single with a call to missions from the womb. None of that was true of me. So, no, God was NOT calling me to go on a trip like that.

 
Do you see what I was doing? I was guilty of profiling myself right out of a call from God.   

                                                                                  
Moses did it.  God called him to go to Egypt and  tell Pharaoh to unhand God's people. Immediately Moses took inventory of his inadequacies. He was not a good speaker, he didn't have charisma or social pull  which meant no one would listen to him. (Exodus 4:10)

 Jeremiah did it. He said he didn't have enough experience or public speaking skills. (Jeremiah 1:6)

Gideon did it. He assumed God never called the runt of the litter to do anything big for Him. (Judges 6:15)

 We all do it. We have an idea of the characteristics (usually positive ones) God requires for a specific task. Then we measure our own characteristics (usually negative ones) against those positive ones. Then we stamp "APPLICATION DENIED" on ourselves before ever giving God a chance to give us His perspective.               

                                                                    God Says To Stop It

 Here is good news: The only profile God wants  you to fit  is possession of an obedient heart. He doesn't need anything else. He fills in the gaps and it is oh so wonderful the way He does!  (more on that in my next blog)

So please stop profiling and just start obeying. Profiling  puts locks on the doors God wants you to walk through. Obedience picks those locks and lets the adventures begin!

 

Talk About It: In what way might you be guilty of profiling yourself out of a call from God?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Two Snobs For A Crown


 

"Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion" Psalm 103:4
                          
I was new at the church. I knew how important it was to connect with other Christians. Imagine my delight when a woman who had been greeting me warmly week after week invited me to her home. She was refreshingly transparent about her past struggles and what God had done to bring healing to her wounded heart. I reciprocated by sharing some recent struggles that brought about unprecedented spiritual  growth.

My heart exclaimed, " I have found a friend!"

Like the gradual exchange of wee-hour darkness for  morning light, I noticed a nagging change in this new friendship. The questions about where I lived  and my husband's job title seemed harmless at first. She was just gathering facts any person would ask in  getting to know me, right?  But then came the coolness, the slights, and the condescending evaluations of  my clothing. There was even a thinly veiled remark about my body weight in front of a group of women.  Back then,  I had a predisposition that was too eager to give people the benefit of a doubt. "She didn't mean it the way she said it...don't be so touchy," I told myself.  But in short time, the phone calls stopped, and I wondered what I had done to deserve the dumping.

 Months later, I again encountered what I thought to be a new friendship. Warm smiles were a welcome sight in a room full of strangers. Time passed. One day, in an attempt to make conversation, I mentioned that we had  a mutual friend. Then it happened. I had been trained  never to show shock at what comes out of a person's mouth, but this time my eyes would not cooperate. They blinked then bucked,  stunned at what she said.  She was embarrassed that anyone know she even knew me. I tucked the hurt away and put on a brave face.

I tried to shake off those two encounters, but depression set in anyway.  I was surprised how emotionally devastating this felt. I  interviewed myself," Why does this hurt so much?" Ah, it was because the misery had a familiar flavor.  In slide-show fashion, the memories of past  rejection based on superficial things  glided across the screen of my mind.

Enough!

 I didn't want to feel this way anymore. I was shocked to realize the depth of my sorrow was not what the snobs  believed about me.  No, the tragedy was that I agreed with their assessment of my worth.  How sick! I knew it was wrong, but how  to change? I needed to settle this issue once and for all.  I embarked on a biblical journey in search of my identity.  What I found changed my life. Here is a snippet of what I found.  In a voice so tender it could only be His Spirit, God whispered to my heart, 

You are complete in Me (Colossians 2:10).

You are an heir of God and a joint- heir with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17).

I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

I have called you by name, you are Mine(Isaiah 43:1).

You were not bought with silver or gold,  you were paid for with royal blood (1Peter 1:18-19).

You are My  masterpiece, created to accomplish something important on God's to-do list (Ephesians 2:10).

I realized I had been picked by the Prince of Peace, but was walking around like a ragged Cinderella! No more! Those truths were Neosporin to my cut- up soul!

But it was not easy to keep those truths in mind. When I asked the Lord to give me a way to remember, He gave me this: a crown. Since I am the daughter of The King, I could imagine a crown on my head. Nobody else could see it, but God said it was there.  I started to walk around aware of it on my head. I started to smile brighter  when I met people, joy began to shine in my eyes, and I walked with my head held high-- not in arrogance, but in gratitude for the validation God gave me. I was worth something to Someone, and it had nothing to do with what I wore, where I lived, or what I had. I had exchanged the opinions of two snobs for a crown.
 I will wear it the rest of my life.
Talk About It: How about you? Are you wearing your crown?

 

 

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Do You Have Three Eyes?


"Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sara's womb was also dead. Yet He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. " Romans 4:19-21

 
 
My heartbeat speeds up every time I read the passage above.
 
Everyone one loves a story where the  underdog  triumphs over incredible odds. I have noticed that overcomers use their two natural eyes to look at the bare naked facts. They don't dabble in denial and tell themselves they don't see what is staring back at them. But while they view the facts with their natural eyes, they also  have a third eye, the eye of faith.

 Do you have three eyes?
 
 People call us crazy, pie-in-the sky Pollyanna's because of our third eye. They think we are not living in reality. But we are more realistic than the pessimists because we know once God has said a thing, it is as real as if it already happened. We remember that God sees the past,  present, and future simultaneously.  Humanly speaking, it's like seeing yourself as a baby in one room (that's the past), your present age in the next room, and you living in what God has promised just one door down. Because God cannot lie, what He has promised has already happened. You're just not in that room yet.

 What has God promised that you are tempted to doubt? Resist the temptation to look at your present circumstances only with your natural eyes. 

Maybe your third eye is getting blurry? Is your faith faltering? Verse 19 says that Abraham was strengthened in his faith. Where did his faith find its strength? In the power of God! You don't have to muster up faith if it's faith in God because God's promises are backed up by who He is!
 
 If your third eye is getting blurry, you may be looking too long at the circumstance and not enough at the One who is greater than your circumstance.
 
Maybe the exercise below can strengthen your third eye if it is growing weak. 
Put your name in place of Abraham's and your circumstance in place of his and see what happens!
 
Without weakening in her faith, (your name) faced the fact that (insert your facts here).  Yet she did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in her faith...being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.

 

Talk About It:  Share what your third eye sees that is just one door down. Or what promise has God made that has already been fulfilled? It may encourage the rest of us who are still waiting.

 
 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Are You a Gideon-ite?


"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  (2 Cor. 12:9)

Don't you love Gideon? His honesty about how he saw himself and why he believed God picked the wrong man is refreshing. Can you relate to him? Have you noticed that whenever God calls someone to do something, they tend to point out the weaknesses that disqualify them for the task? Do you tend to do that? I think we all default to that way of thinking. After all, this is GOD  calling us.  When the Almighty is calling you for duty, you'd better have yourself together, right? But wait, isn't God the One who knows everything? (The answer is yes) So if He knows everything, then He has to know your weaknesses when He calls you.

 Hmm…

 Could it be that He calls you because of your weakness and not in spite of it? God wants to use your life to glorify Him. Sometimes He gets more glory through your weakness than your strength .

 
I remember the dental van coming to my public elementary school once a year when I was child. They would always show a film about proper dental care and send us home with a new toothbrush and some pink tablets that dissolved in our mouth.  The pills were the most fun part because after brushing, we sucked on the tablets  to see where we missed brushing. The goal was to have no pink showing, but as kids, we took delight in seeing how pink our teeth and tongue turned. Could it be that when your heavenly daddy decides how he wants to be glorified in your life, He looks for the pink spots where your weakness is most pronounced? You see your pink spots as reasons God should choose someone else, but God sees those same flaws as places to apply His grace and bring glory to Himself.   He applies His power in those places, and it becomes obvious He is the one doing great things through you.


The apostle Paul declared that because Christ's power would rest on him, he would rather boast in his weakness.  I know it's kind of uncomfortable to think of your weakness in this way. You'd rather it was not there. But since it is a part of your beautiful yet imperfect self, why not let God re-purpose it? Take relief in knowing God does not need your perfection to call you to do something significant.

 

 Read about what God did through Gideon, the youngest family member of the smallest tribe(Judges 7). Wouldn't it be exciting if God used you in a great way too? Your imperfections don't disqualify you, they make you a prime candidate for God to be in the spotlight. In a way, they make you a Gideon-ite. Embrace your inner Gideon, Dear Sister! Sometimes it's not your strengths but the pink spots on your resume' that incite God to call you up for service.

 Talk About It

What weakness comes to mind most often when you tell yourself someone else would be a better choice?