Preparing For Your Calling Series: “Your Appointed Mission”

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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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Preparing For Your Calling Series: “Single Minded”

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 fourth message in my series on preparing for your calling. Follow this link to read previous posts in this series. Last week, I talked about God taking us through the wilderness to empty us and fill us with His Word, so we can be equipped to walk in faith until Jesus returns. When we are going through times of intense testing, it’s important to remember God’s faithfulness and keep our minds focused on Him. Whenever the Israelites saw God perform a miracle, they believed and praised Him. But the moment they were in need they quickly doubted His faithfulness.

The Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:2-8).

My greatest weakness used to be doubt. I was extremely double-minded. My husband would often ask me how I could have so much faith one moment, but when circumstances changed I’d quickly lose it. It was easy to believe God when I saw Him bless me. But just like the Israelites, I’d quickly return to doubting God the moment I was in need.

I didn’t understand why I struggled with doubt so much. In my heart I believed God was who He said He was. I believed His Word was true. I felt like the father that cried out to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). It didn’t make sense to me. How could I believe and have unbelief?

I didn’t understand that my carnal mind that I operated in before I knew Jesus was defiled with unbelief. “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15). I was double-minded because I was still used to operating in my carnal mind. My mind needed to be transformed and renewed into my new Spiritual mind, the mind of Christ.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV

Whenever a storm suddenly arose, I’d naturally default to my carnal mind because that was dominant in me. I believe that’s why the disciples quickly lost faith when they were hit with a storm soon after following Jesus in Matthew 8:23-26. It takes time to put off our old thinking and start operating in the Spirit.

… if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Ephesians 4:21-24, NASB

The Israelites wouldn’t lay aside their carnal mind. They often complained that they would’ve been better off in Egypt. They kept their minds focused on what they left behind. If they would’ve kept their minds on God, and allowed Him to change their thinking, they wouldn’t have wandered around for forty years and died in the wilderness.

This is why Satan attacks our minds. That’s where our spiritual battle takes place (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Satan knows if he can get us to keep our minds off the Spirit, then we won’t follow the Spirit. God leads us into the wilderness. But He doesn’t force us to follow Him. We can turn back any time we want. Satan knows once we accept Christ, it is a critical time to hinder us from following Christ to the end. Satan and his army go full force trying to get us to turn back and return to captivity. We must not give him the glory by letting him succeed.

I spent many years struggling in the wilderness. Once I learned the importance of renewing my mind, I committed myself to being in the Word daily. Within only five months of seeking God daily I saw my life take a dramatic turn. I was able to quit the job I had been praying to leave for many years and take the first step into God’s calling for my life.

The Bible says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2). 

If things aren’t going well in your life right now, don’t give up seeking God and His Word daily. In due season, you will reap a bountiful harvest if you continue to persevere. God is faithful. Praise Him and speak His Word out loud to help keep your mind focused on Him. Don’t let your mind think about your problems. Change directions by shifting your focus to God’s faithfulness in His Word.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3

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For our prayer this week, I want to close with a psalm David wrote when he was in the Desert of Judah (Psalm 63:1-8).

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

In Jesus name, I lift my voice in praise!

Verses To Meditate On:

Joshua 7:13; Daniel 10:12; Hebrews 11

*If you’d like to learn more about renewing your mind, follow this link to a post I shared on renovating my mind using the example in Nehemiah of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.

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*Come back next Monday as the series continues.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.


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