Preparing For Your Calling Series: “Be Faithful”

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

—2 Timothy 2:20

This is the last message in my series on preparing for your calling. Follow this link to read all the messages in this series. In the first message, I talked about following Jesus as He leads us into our calling. Today we end with following Jesus in our calling.

The third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after he rose from the dead, He commissioned Simon Peter to feed His sheep and told him, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-19).

Peter turned and saw John following them and asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:21-22).

When God reveals to us our calling, we may not always like where He wants to lead us. We have to be careful that we don’t take our eyes off Jesus and start looking at and coveting someone else’s calling. We are one in Christ, but each of us has a different role. Each role is vital to support the body of Christ as a whole and help it grow.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:16

When we follow Jesus we have sufficient anointing to do His will. When we try to do what someone else is called to do, we step away from Jesus and His anointing, and do not bear any fruit to contribute to help the body of Christ grow.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

When God led me to start writing, I took my eyes off Jesus many times trying to do something I wasn’t called to do. Each time I tried to follow what someone else was doing or what others expected me to do, instead of following Jesus, it was a heavy burden that left me exhausted and produced no fruit.

While publishing my first book, I received many invitations to write, teach and mentor on marriage and parenting. Since my book was written to help marriages and families, it was expected that would be where I was called to minister. But after accepting a few invitations I quickly saw that the same anointing I had while writing the book was not with me in those other things. So I cancelled and turned down all the invitations and sought Jesus where He was leading me and where His anointing was with me.

Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

John 12:26

I was listening to Christian radio recently and a local vocal artist shared how God called her to the ministry. She encouraged her listeners to seek God for His will, write the vision down and stay the course, following Jesus every step of the way. This past weekend I prayed for God to show me His will where He was leading me next. I remembered the advice from the artist and started writing down anything the Holy Spirit revealed to me.

After I was finished, I was humbled by what God led me to write down. Majority was little things in my relationship with my husband and children, in my finances, and in my relationship with the Lord. At the end were just a few small writing assignments that God was leading me to finish. It was a humbling reminder that we don’t have to do something big to do our part in the body of Christ. We just need to follow Jesus and start where we are at, and not neglect being obedient in the little things.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Luke 16:10, KJV

I want to encourage you to continue following Jesus. Write down the vision He’s given you. Whatever He calls you to do, don’t despise it. Do your best to be faithful where you are right now, and do your part to support the body of Christ and help it grow. As you are faithful with little, you will be faithful with more.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Matthew 25:23

Heavenly Father,

I praise You for ministering to us through this series. Help me to follow Jesus and be obedient to You in my calling. Show me Your vision for me. Help me not to despise these small beginnings. I want to do my part in the body of Christ. I will be faithful and start right where I am at today. I praise You that Your anointing is with me enabling me to do everything You’ve called me to do.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Verses To Meditate On:

 Titus 3:14; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; Matthew 25:23

 

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Preparing For Your Calling Series: “From Defeat To Victory”

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

—2 Timothy 2:20

This is the ninth message in my series on preparing for your calling. Last week, I talked about God appointing Joseph to lead the Israelites out of the wilderness. After leaving the wilderness, the first place they camped at was Gilgal (Joshua 4:19).

Gilgal has two meanings. It’s Hebrew for “circle” and “wheel.” “Circle” symbolizes that God brought them full-circle. They would no longer have to go around the same mountain over and over again. “Wheel” symbolizes that God rolled away the reproach of Eqypt. They would no longer carry the shame and disgrace of their former captivity.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.

Joshua 5:9

I did a Bible study recently about believing God to bring us to our Gilgals. In the study, God showed me a few of my Gilgals where He brought me full-circle and rolled away my reproach. One Gilgal was in my marriage. My husband and I had marriage problems from the moment we said “I do.” We never wanted anyone to know because we were ashamed, so we kept it hidden for many years. We continued around the same mountain of defeat year after year. We never thought we’d see victory.

God was faithful and He worked through the years to heal our marriage. And in April 2009, He led me to write a book about it. It took me two and a half years to write the book. During those two and a half years, our marriage was tried even greater than in the past. A month before the book’s release our marriage hit a wall. We had to make a choice. Either we bust through it, or turn back in defeat and go back around the same mountain again. Instead of turning back, we pressed through it and God gave us victory!

God brought us full-circle and finally broke the cycle of defeat in our marriage. He not only took away the reproach and brought us victory, but He also produced seeds for us to sow into other marriages. The first six months of the book’s release, God provided for us to give away over 10,000 copies of the book! That’s 10,000 seeds God made possible for us to plant!

The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!

Deuteronomy 1:11

We had to experience defeat first in order to experience victory. First Corinthians 15:36 says, “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” And Jesus said in John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

What seeds would I have been able to sow had my marriage been alive and perfect all along? Sure it was painful to go through that trial. When something is dying, it hurts. But now that I’ve seen the miracle God’s worked in my marriage, and the seeds it’s producing, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am no longer ashamed to talk about my marriage problems. God has rolled away the reproach.

… The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;

1 Corinthians 15:42-43

I want to encourage you not to despise the trials you’re going through as God’s leading you into your calling. Let God bring you full-circle to your Gilgals. He will give you victory, roll away the reproach and bring a harvest like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Then the reproach you once despised will be the seed you cherish the most!

Those who cry while they plant will joyfully sing while they harvest.

Psalm 126:5, GW

 

Heavenly Father,

I praise You for giving us victory in Christ! Bring us to our Gilgals, so we don’t have to go around the same mountain over and over again. Roll away our reproaches and turn them into seeds for us to plant, so You can produce a bountiful harvest in our lives and the lives of others.

In Jesus’ name, we praise You! Amen!

Verses To Meditate On:

1 Peter 4:12-13; James 5:7-11; 1 Peter 5:6-10

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Preparing For Your Calling Series: “Your Appointed Mission”

I recently found out those of you who signed up to receive email notifications haven’t been receiving them for several months. I’m so sorry. The problem has been fixed and you should now be receiving them every Monday.

For the last seven weeks I’ve been doing a series on preparing for your calling. If you missed any posts in this series, you can follow these links below:

Week 1: You Have A Calling

Week 2: Loving God More Than The World

Week 3: Emptying And Filling

Week 4: Single Minded

Week 5: God’s Blessings

Week 6: Believing Jesus’ Teachings

Week 7: Be Strong And Courageous

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

—2 Timothy 2:20

Last week, I talked about being strong and courageous and keeping your confidence as you step into God’s calling. Today we will focus on the mission of our calling.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Matthew 9:35-38

No matter what part of the field God sends us to, we are all given the same mission: to love, reach, feed and lead Jesus’ sheep until He returns. As Jesus stated above, I think the workers are few because too many Christians think they have to be a pastor or a preacher to reach and disciple people. God can use us to reach and minister to those in our neighborhoods. He can use us to reach and minister to our families. He can use us to reach and minister to those in our jobs, our communities, and even our churches.

I am a stay at home mom of four children. I didn’t have a platform or church pulpit to minister from when God called me. The first assignment God gave me was to borrow a women’s Bible study from my church and lead the study in my home. I sent invites to all my family and friends, and anyone I knew in my neighborhood and community. That one study grew and many more studies followed. For two and a half years, God used those studies to reach and disciple women of all ages and walks of life. Some didn’t know Christ. Some were just starting their walk with Christ. Others were mature in their walk with Christ. By simply opening my home each week, I was able to love, reach, feed and lead many of Jesus’ sheep.

Before God told Moses that Joshua was chosen to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, Moses said to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

Numbers 27:15-17

To prepare you to love, reach, feed and lead those in the community God appoints you, God first has to give you a heart of compassion. You can’t love without having compassion. And you can’t reach and minister to others without love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Jesus has compassion and love for us because the Bible says that He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). In the same way, God uses our wilderness times to purify our hearts and soften them so that we would have compassion first for ourselves, and then for others.

We have to learn to be compassionate toward ourselves first because if we are hard on ourselves, we will be hard on others. I used to be extremely hard on myself. It affected all my relationships, especially my marriage. God opened my eyes to this when my husband expressed to me once: “I feel like you are always disappointed in me. I feel like I constantly let you down.” I couldn’t sympathize with his weaknesses because I hadn’t received God’s grace for my weaknesses.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

I want to encourage you today to receive God’s mercy for yourself so you can fulfill your calling to love, reach, feed and lead those in the community God appoints you.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:12-17

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Prayer For The Week:

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for having mercy on us and forgiving all our sins. Cleanse our hearts and fill it with love and compassion for others. Appoint us to the community You need us most. Help us to love, reach, feed and lead Your sheep to Jesus, our good and faithful Shepherd. 

In His name we pray, Amen!

Verses To Meditate On:

1 Timothy 1:5 (AMP version); Ephesians 4:1-16

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Preparing For Your Calling Series: “Be Strong and Courageous”

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

—2 Timothy 2:20

This is the seventh message in my series on preparing for your calling. Follow this link to read previous posts in this series. Last week, we saw that Joshua spent time pursuing God on his own, and God chose him to eventually lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. After the death of Moses, as God was preparing Joshua to cross the Jordan, He told Joshua:

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? 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 1:1-9

God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous. He then emphasizes to be strong and “very” courageous. Then a third time He commands him to be strong and courageous. As if that wasn’t enough, a few verses later the Israelites remind Joshua once again to be strong and courageous.

Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

Joshua 1:16-18

Why all the reminders to be strong and courageous? Joshua had already been told a few chapters earlier. Why was it so important to continue reminding him?

Before Moses died, Moses encouraged the Israelites, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

He then encouraged Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8).

Then the Lord commanded Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you” (Deuteronomy 31:23).

Each time Joshua and the Israelites were told to be strong and courageous, they were also reminded that God would be with them and would never leave them. The purpose of reminding them was to help them gain confidence to fight the battles that were ahead. Without confidence they would be quickly overtaken and wouldn’t accomplish God’s will.

God will often call us to do things that are beyond our own ability. It can be scary to do something that you know you have no power to do on your own. God tells us not to be afraid because He is with us, ready to help us succeed in His plan.

When the Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem, King Hezekiah told the people to: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

2 Chronicles 32:6-8

When God called me to start writing, the first verse He told me to hold on to was Hebrews 10:35-36: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Once reality kicked in, and I saw that I had no experience in writing, I became scared. As soon as I took my eyes off God and started focusing on my own ability, fear began settling in. For about a month, I couldn’t write anything. Every time I tried to write I was unable. I started questioning if I had made a mistake and God didn’t call me to write. I felt stuck. I didn’t know what to do.

One evening, I was watching a Bible study video. The message was on Hebrews 10:35. The preacher had a trash can next to her as she shared a story about losing her confidence early in ministry. As she tossed a piece of paper (that symbolized her confidence) in the trash, God opened my eyes and showed me that’s what I had done.

Immediately, I got out my laptop and started writing. Full of confidence in the Spirit, the words came pouring out of me like a flood. It was amazing. Once I had my confidence back that God was with me and helping me, His spirit was unhindered and able to work through me.

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

2 Chronicles 15:7

I hope this message encourages you to be strong and courageous. Don’t throw away your confidence that God is with you. Don’t focus on your inabilities. Focus on God’s abilities. And watch what His Spirit can do through you!

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” 

Jeremiah 17:7-8

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Prayer For The Week:

Heavenly Father,

I praise You for always being with me. I know You will never call me to do anything that You won’t be there to help me accomplish. Thank you for giving me confidence in Your ability. I am not afraid. I know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I am strong and very courageous!

In Jesus’ name, I praise You! Amen!

Verses To Meditate On:

1 Chronicles 22:11-13; 1 Chronicles 28:20; Proverbs 3:25-26

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