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Who I Am

November 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Who I Am

I am one of those people who is motivated by simple words of encouragement. Even in my employment, it is not the financial opportunities that drive me nearly as much as a simple acknowledgment of a job well done.

The reality is, I think we are all in that same boat. Each and every day we seek acknowledgment and approval from those around us; strangers, co-workers, family and friends. We seek validation of our accomplishments, hopes and dreams. Some days, we receive it and some days not so much.

The problem arrises when we rely only on what people say about us and we forget what God says – after all, it is His opinion that truly matters.

So what does God say about you?  He says you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), He says you “are the apple of His eye” (Psalm 17:8), He says you are His Treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7:6), He says you are His Workmanship – a piece of art (Ephesians 2:10), He says you are an overcomer (1 John 4:4), He says you are seated in Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and best of all, He says you are loved (John 3:16).

Today, don’t let any discouragement get in the way of your true identity in Him. Trust the opinion of the one who created you.

Question: How else does God describe you?

 

Is Fear Enough?

September 18, 2013 — Leave a comment
Photo By TJDwewy at http://www.flickr.com/photos/22416200@N05/

Photo By TJDwewy at http://www.flickr.com/photos/22416200@N05/

“Not me Lord” or “I am not able Lord.” How many times do we see that in the Bible when God calls forth His people for a purpose or cause? I spoke about this last year in my post “No More Excuses“, but this morning I was reading in 1st Kings 18 and couldn’t help but pause and reflect on a few points in that chapter. I will give you the back story in one sentence: Elijah is a man of God, who told Ahab ( the King of Israel, evil in the sight of God) there would be a famine and Elijah has been gone for 3 years now returning.

As Elijah begins his journey back in encounters Obadiah. The Bible tells us that Obadiah feared the Lord greatly and even hid and saved 150 prophets of God from Jezebel. Obadiah knows that Elijah is a man of God and drops before him when he encounters him.  Elijah then tells him to go and tell Ahab that he is here.

Without a delay Obadiah spits back:

So he said, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? (1 Kings 18:9 NKJV)

How quickly Ahab moves to a place of fear.  But it doesn’t stop there:

12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the Lord will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth.13 Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid one hundred men of the Lord’s prophets, fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water? 1 4And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here.” ’ He will kill me!” (1 Kings 18:12-14 NKJV)

Here we have a man of God, who fears the Lord and he is being instructed by the Prophet of the Lord on what he should do…and he jumps straight to fear and a myriad of reasons why he shouldn’t do as Elijah (and God) is asking him to do.

There is one very important lesson to take away from Obadiah:

Fear of the Lord is not enough – action is ALWAYS required.

God is calling you and I to move. Yes, it is scary. Yes, it is dangerous. And yes, it is most certainly unstable and unpredictable.

Don’t hear me wrong – fear of the Lord is essential – but without action, it means nothing.  Obadiah had to step outside of his comfort zone, outside of what he viewed as “safe” and carry out the command of the Lord…no matter the cost.

The reality is quite simple. No matter what we are venturing into, no matter what He is telling you to do, He will never leave you or forsake you. It is a promise and God cannot break His Word:

5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV)

Today, I encourage you to step outside of your perceived comfort zone and move into the next stage that God is calling you into.

Question: What is your strategy for making sure you are aligned with God’s plan?

By Philippe Antoine from Paris, France (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Picture By Philippe Antoine from Paris, France (Flickr)

Earlier in the week I posted Part 1 of our discussion “Learning From Spies“.  If you have not read it, I encourage you to do so now, as this post is simply a continuation of it.

We left off in verse 31 of Numbers 13:

31But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

I cannot help but feel both perplexed by their statement, and at the same time find some alignment in what they are saying. If you rewind not to far, they have not only seen God come through in miraculous ways (need I mention parting an entire sea), but they were also promised this land by God.

How quickly did they forget the strength of their God?

The statement they made saying that the inhabitants of the land are stronger than they are…who cares?!?! They have the strength of God almighty on their side! They have a promise from the King of Kings that cannot be broken! Should that not be sufficient enough to storm the land? One would think – but we are all just as guilty of assessing our problems through our own lens verses God’s lens.

They said that they were grasshoppers in their own sight – that is how they saw themselves.  As grasshoppers. I can’t say I have ever felt like a grasshopper, but I do know there have been times in my life that I have felt insignificant, weak, and just plain incapable of accomplishing what was set before me.

And that, my friends, is exactly where we go wrong. That is where the slippery slope begins. This might be the most important truth you can take away from anything I write:

It doesn’t matter how you see yourself, it only matters how God sees you!

You might think of yourself as incapable, or awkward, or slow…but quite frankly, it does not matter. You don’t have the right to define you. Only God has that right. And He defines you as:

Perfect. Beautiful. Courageous. Loved. His Favorite. Fearfully Made. Wonderfully Made. Amazing. His Son/Daughter. A Warrior. Respected. Important.

The list goes on and on. If you have never felt those things from God before – then stop right now. Don’t even finish reading and listen to Him. Turn off the distractions around you and just tell Him you need to hear from Him. I promise, He will respond.

Only God has the perfect lens to view you through.

And if you don’t believe it, stop for a minute and think about how everything began. Genesis 1 says that we are made in the image and likeness of God.  I think we can agree that God is perfect. And if you are made in His image and His likeness…than you too are made in His perfection and splendor.

Question: When you see yourself as God sees you, can you describe the freedom it brings?

On Monday, we will have part 3 of Learning from Spies – so make sure and comeback then. Or if you would like, you can always subscribe to my blog and receive it via email!

No More Excuses

August 23, 2012 — 2 Comments

Stop2

One thing I have really enjoyed in my career is interviewing people.  I really enjoy sitting down, asking questions and digging into their resume.  What always amazes me, is the extent that people will go to to really make themselves sound perfect.  Always trying to brush over any sign of weakness.

But how quickly that changes when it comes to something God calls us to do.  We pull out our weaknesses, our excuses and the “why we are not the right ones” or “why now is not the right time”.  We are SO fast on whipping out that list of “why-nots”.  Just look at some of the great men of the Old Testament, starting with Moses in Exodus 4:10:

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

And then we have Gideon in Judges 6:15

So he [Gideon] said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.

These are just two of numerous examples.  Time and time again we see people move away from their calling and their destiny, simply because they felt as though they were not “good enough”.

But just as it was with both Moses and Gideon, it is with us.  God answers our doubt the same way He answered theirs!

Like He said to Moses in Exodus 4:11-12

 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

Or to Gideon in Judges 6:14 “…Have I not sent you?”

Quite simply, it is God who made us.  He has made each individual one of us perfect for a calling. What you perceive as your weakness, God intends for glory.

Throw the doubt aside.  Listen to the voice of the Lord.  If He has called you, stop trying to negotiate with Him by explaining why now is not a good time, or why you lack the ability.

If He has called you – there is no better time than now.

Question: What is your favorite excuse you see given by someone in the Bible?

Raul Midon Concert

This week I had the opportunity to go to enjoy a concert from Raul Midon.  This was my first time seeing him, and I must say, he is very impressive.  If you have an opportunity to see him, I would recommend it.

One thing really stuck out to me, specifically his lyrics to his song “Everybody”.  Here are just a few lines:

Everybody is free to make a difference

Everybody can be somebody

Everybody is free to make a difference in this world.

You don’t have to be a big celebrity

To feel the power, the power in your soul

…To realize that in your eyes there’s a view that only you can see

There was something so powerful in those words when he sang that song.  Something so simple, yet so profound.  Sometimes we let our challenges hold us back.  We let our “disabilities” hinder our progress.  But yet – only YOU can make that difference in YOUR world.  It doesn’t matter what you think of yourself – there is no one else who gets to enjoy the same view that you have.

We looked a bit at Ephesians 2:10 last week (go back and read my post here if you have not read that).

Ephesians 2:10 (AMP) “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].”

Even going back to Psalm 139 – You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!  You are one of a kind. You are unique.

I seem to have a hard time conveying my point here – trying to find the right words.

I hear people talking about how they “wish I had it like that person” or if I had that job or that money or that ________ you fill in the blank.  The obsession with believing that the grass is greener on the other side.

That, my friends, is such a fallacy.

You are exactly where you need to be.  You are exactly who you are supposed to be.

Hear me out – I am not ignorant of the troubles we can face.  The pains that we can experience.  I am working through my own individual trials.  I have said for some time now that I am in a pruning season…and if it were up to me, I am ready to be finished with it – but I have to trust that God has me where I am, in this season, this stage, these struggles for a perfect and divine reason.

No one gets to enjoy the view I have from my own eyes.  God created this view just for me.  I just have to sit back and realize that I can make a difference.  That I am God’s workmanship.

Question:  Are there times when you feel that the view from your eyes is not what it should be?

 

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.  Psalm 139:13-16

For me, these verses have defined my life.  These words are my safe place; where I return when I need to be refreshed. Let’s be honest, this was a very hard concept for me to grasp in my early days as a follower of Jesus…that He saw my unformed being.  That He intricately and meticulously formed every part and laid out in advance of me setting one foot on this earth, a destiny of purpose.

I enjoy the way the Amplified Bible puts it:

My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].

God created me intentionallysometimes I just have to let that sink in.

I am no accident.

I am not here to just wander aimlessly.  I have a creator who created me with a plan and purpose.  And He created me intricately; not haphazardly.

When life gets a bit overwhelming, or when I start to feel a little under appreciated – this sets me straight.  I go back here and see that God knows me better then I even know myself and I can rest assured knowing He has a plan for me, that I need to fulfill, no matter how crazy this world can get.

I love this video from Louie Giglio- he does a fantastic job outlining the wonder of it all!

Each of us is something truly special.  There is no other Paul out there like me, there is no other you out there.  You are a miracle!

We will talk in upcoming weeks about the challenges we can face, but I feel it is important to start with my foundation – these verses are my launch pad.  They are what defines the path I take and where I go when I need a course correction.

Question: Where do you go when you need a reset or level-set?