Tag Archives: prudence

Responding to the Call

While the morning was quiet and my green tea was steeping in the french press, God began to speak:

“The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

I have a call to be His voice to the nations. This call is one I’ve known ever since I was a young girl. In my life, I’d journey to other continents in a quest to fulfill this mission that is deeply embedded in my heart.

The truth is that we all have a call. Because God is extremely purposeful and wise, He intends for each of us to live a life of purpose with Him at the center of our gaze. Regardless of your particular occupation, we should always work with the following three commands in mind:

1. “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

2. “But first be concerned about God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well.” Matthew 6:33 ISV

3. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

This is about you and Jesus. And living the most incredible, purposeful life while here on earth.

A couple of nights ago, Keith and I were browsing the TV guide and saw that a movie about Jeremiah was on. Out of curiosity, we turned to the channel, and within minutes my heart was captivated. You see, the Lord has consistently brought me to both Isaiah and Jeremiah as tools of training for my call and to emphasize that I was hearing Him correctly. And He will do the same for you, beloved. 

God will always use His word (because it doesn’t fade like emotions) when preparing and confirming your purpose in life.

After the movie, I opened His Word and began reading the first few chapters of Jeremiah and was struck by three important lessons. The story begins with an everyday man responding to a high call and obeying His Lord.

1. “The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

This passage confirms God’s sovereignty over our lives. Each of us (every person from every nation) is created in God’s image and has a call to fulfill once we enter this world. We are created on purpose for a purpose. Yet, we must seek God (with our free will) to find what He is calling us to, and then we must allow Him to faithfully direct us along the way.

 2. “Ah Sovereign Lord’, I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child’.” Jeremiah 1:6

Pay attention to this response of Jeremiah. First he refers to God as “Sovereign” (all-knowing, all-powerful, owning all things). Then he adds, “I do not know how…” This contradicts his initial description of God as sovereign, because he is attempting to limit God’s call with Jeremiah’s own inabilities. Finally, Jeremiah (a grown man at this point) closes his statement by saying he is “only a child.”

Is this not what we do as humans? We say “That’s nice Lord and thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not qualified to do that (I’m in too much debt, I don’t have that particular skill set, or I have a set agenda and that really isn’t apart of it). While we’re prone to focus on our own inadequacies, we forget that the very One who is calling us is more than adequate.

We as humans will never accomplish the will of God through mortal strength. If we could, we wouldn’t need God. A supernatural challenge requires a supernatural response. That is why we can do all things, but only through Christ who strengthens us. We must depend on God. We must take our eyes off of us and puts them on Jesus. This is where intimacy is built.

 3. “But the Lord said to me. ‘Do not say , ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you’, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:7-8

Look at how God responds to Jeremiah here. He wants us to focus on Him instead of our inadequacies and environment. This is where many of us (including myself) often stumble. We pray for God’s will in our lives, but when the time comes, we’re more focused on the will of man. Allow me to elaborate. Jeremiah was afraid of what people would say or think of him once he actually went through with what God’s calling on him. He didn’t just feel inadequate; he also desired the approval of man. If we are to obey God in this life and walk closely to Him, we must forsake the desire to please man. And the fear of God must reign over the fear of man. May your heart be encouraged with His truth today.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

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The Value of a Strong Mental Diet (Part1)

Often times we’re quick to discuss what we consume on a daily basis, well, food that is. Whether we need a quick detox to boost our immunity and clear our minds, or to shed a few pounds, evaluating our dietary consumption is pretty normal these days.

But, what about our mental diet and the countless messages (whether verbal or visual) that we consume each day? Does the Bible not encourage us to carefully assess our thought patterns and that which comes out of our mouths (a direct byproduct of our thought life), in order to live holy lives for the glory of our Maker?

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect..” Romans 12:1-2 NLT

“But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” Romans 7:23 ESV

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” Psalm 141:3 ESV

I’ve asked myself, and now I’m asking you, how important is your mental diet? And are you aware of what you are actually consuming? Similar to how calorie-counting can shed some pounds and clear our mind, so monitoring what we watch, read, listen to, and think upon, can free us of damaging clutter that creates toxic behaviors and attitudes.

“My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.” Proverbs 23:19 NLT

Allow me to preface this post before I begin. 

I deeply believe it is the active role of the Holy Spirit, not mankind, to convict a person’s heart concerning any destructive behaviors present in one’s life. The Bible clearly expresses what is right and good, and what is sinful and harmful for the lives of mankind. For example, the Bible states “do not murder”, so we know that murder is wrong. But, many other decisions are more ambiguous, such as: should I no longer watch this TV show?

“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer. ” John 16:7-10 NIV

When the Holy Spirit convicts, and the person responds to the conviction by turning away from the behavior, joy, peace, and freedom are fully expressed, because the person has obeyed God.

However, when humans dictate what others should do for the cause of being holy (such as making dietary laws, or imposing their own personal convictions on another), then a person may temporarily oblige, but resentment and contempt for the person will soon follow. This is why forced religion (perhaps in the form of legalism) generates fear of man versus God, and a lackluster approach to knowing and worshipping the Creator God. Avoid this approach at all cost.

I share this with you, because I have absolutely no interest in condemning or trying to play the role of the Holy Spirit in convicting you of certain behaviors in your life. Ultimately, what you choose to fill your mind with, must be between you and the Almighty. However, let me encourage you in ways to fill your minds with positive influences, in order to produce a harvest of good fruit (while simultaneously glorifying your Creator) in your own lives.

Just as the saying “we are what we eat” is proven to be true, “we are what we think” is also highly valid. How high or low you think of yourself has huge implications on how you present yourself to others and what you achieve in this life. As my pastor likes to say, “We will never rise above the level of our thinking”. You must see yourself as you truly are in Christ. So, how exactly do we do this?

Join me tomorrow as I share four specific ways you can transform your thought-life (through the power of the Holy Spirit) by a practical, biblical focus on the positive in order to live a better life and glorify God.

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Repost: There is a Season for Everything

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

If we continually rest upon the divine counsel of God’s infinite wisdom, our lives can reflect the simplicity of this statement from Ecclesiastes. However, our lives will become maddeningly complex if we choose to ignore the instructions God has for us regarding specific seasons.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

In our minds, we can be in springtime when God has us firmly in a winter season.

“There is…a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” Ecclesiastes 3:2

Generally speaking, we as human beings don’t like change. In fact, we can enjoy comfort to the point that we’ll delay a season of change (even if it’s good) just to keep everything constant and predictable. Some of us are creatures of habit, and some of us really do like controlling our own lives.  Then, when God instructs us to do something we don’t want to do, our feathers get ruffled. But remember that life is about change.

If you’re not constantly changing, you’re also not growing. Entering (and exiting) seasons of change is healthy!

When God leads us into a new season, He often alters our present-day circumstances.

  • Have you lost the enthusiasm or passion about the work you once felt called to do? God may be moving you into a new season of rest or into a new career.
  • Are you experiencing immense pressure about your current dating relationship? God may be moving you forward into a new season of commitment (such as an engagement), or the relationship may need to come to an end.
  • Do you have an awkward tension towards any situation (a friendship, living arrangement, or financial plan) in your life that seems bizarre? You may be standing still in a season that God wants you to move past.

How can you know the time to move on?

Even after following Jesus for many years, listening for His prompting to move on can be difficult. Allow me to share a few personal examples with you:

1. In a recent season of my life, the Lord had impressed me to pray with a specific individual. Our time was undoubtedly fruitful, and meeting bright and early each Friday morning to sit with the Lord was a real joy. But over time, my spirit became more burdened than joyful, and the Lord  graciously related that this season had come to an end. Even if the Lord gives you a task that produces great fruit in one season, He may not have you continue indefinitely. Seek the Lord, and He’ll be faithful to include you on the timing of events.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

2. While I was serving as a missionary with limited funds, the Lord provided a beautiful place for me to live. After praying about it, my roommate and I agreed that I would stay there for a specific time (a few months). Once these initial months passed, we had both became comfortable with our living arrangement. On our own, we decided that I could stay for a bit longer (I still needed a place to live and she needed the income). Shortly thereafter, tension arose between us, and each of our boundaries were slowly encroached upon. At this point, I knew that something was definitely wrong, and God faithfully informed me that His purpose had been fulfilled and it was time to move on.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;call on him while he is near.Let the wicked forsake their waysand the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7

3. Finally, as a writer today, the Lord has me stepping into some very unfamiliar territory. He has given me a bucket full of BIG dreams, but I also only have a very limited amount of time. Therefore, I have had to choose my time wisely and bid farewell to some old activities (that have been fruitful in the past) to make room for the new items He has for me (that will produce the bountiful harvest He has planted in my life).

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

Pruning can be a tough process, and it’s easier for us to remain where we feel most comfortable. But as His beloved, we must move on and we must move forward.

“…a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:3-8

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