Tag Archives: Bible

The Power of Silence.

Snark Meter

   One of the greatest responsibilities leaders have is to keep their mouths closed.

   Whether you’ve asked for it or not, as a leader—a boss, business owner, ministry leader, politician, teacher, parent or grandparent—people are watching you and listening to you. And they believe what you say (or what they thought you said). When the wrong thing is said, whether unintentionally or on purpose, the nuclear fallout can poison the atmosphere and disparaging impressions are inevitable. Here are a couple of too common scenarios:

   Scenario #1—The Offhand Comment

   Leader (scrolling through text messages): “Looks like Melinda’s going to be late again.”

   Listener: “Melinda Tardy?”

   Leader: “Yeah, she’s never on time. I usually tell her to come a half hour before a meeting actually starts.”

   Listener: “Really? Huh…”

   While that comment is not technically libelous, it hardly leaves a favorable impression of Melinda. The listener can’t help speculating as to why she’s always late: Is she deliberately insensitive to others? Oblivious to the inconvenience she causes? Too particular about her appearance? Can’t tell time? Thanks to human nature, speculations rarely favor the offender.

   Scenario #2—The “Innocent” Gossip

    Leader: “Let’s all pray for Larry and Maeve this week. They’re having some issues at home.”

   Listener A: “What kind of issues? You know—just so we can pray more effectively…”

   Leader: “Well, Larry is out of work again and the financial stress is putting a strain on their marriage.”

   Listener B: “More details would definitely help us to pray…”

   While this scenario is obviously a little exaggerated (I would hope), the point is this: Once a leader even hints that gossip is okay, others will take that permission and run with it. No doubt after the little prayer meeting, Larry and Maeve’s private problems jingled phones all up and down the prayer chain.

   As leaders, we must beware what we start.

   What leaders have to recognize is that our comments, speculations, and judgments are not forgotten by those who hear them—whether we remember them in five minutes or not. And they leave an impression—often a lasting impression.

   Sadly, I can’t tell you the numbers of times over the years that I’ve heard someone in some leadership capacity make a careless or negative comment about someone’s mistake or struggle or fault and, whether I wanted it to or not, it influenced my view of that person.

   “Well,” (you might say), “that’s very immature of you.” Not really. What would be immature would be to repeat the tidbit or to treat the person differently as a result of what I’ve heard. But let’s face it—if we hear something about a person’s bad behavior, weakness or error in judgment—especially if we hear it from someone in authority—we’re going to view that person a different light. The shift in our view may be large or small but it’s there. And it could be any change in thinking from a retraction of trust or respect for the target person to a feeling of pity. (And who likes that?) In more unfortunate situations, careless comments to others by a leader can inspire feelings of jealousy, superiority or even dislike.

   Who does not remember, at one time or another, our wide-eyed, unconditional acquiescence to some respected person’s opinion—no questions asked? If dad, in a moment of frustration, refers to grandma as controlling, then to us she is—even if she’s not. If a coach remarks to a player that “not everyone is cut out to play soccer” (or football or basketball), then forever we’ll believe that Johnny just doesn’t have what it takes—and never will. Poor him.   

   Careless words.

   In the Bible, James talks of the critical importance of controlling one’s tongue. “We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire…” (3:3-6a, NLT).

   Our words, especially those of people in leadership, can steer opinions, viewpoints, biases, and prejudices; words can start fires—rumors, lies, conflicts, and divisions. And in the end, the tongue’s poison can destroy families, churches, work places, communities—even entire nations.

   Is all of that worth the satisfaction of one snarky or careless comment?

   Do leaders get frustrated? Sometimes. And if we need to talk about it, we must be most on guard. Who’s listening? Who’s impressionable? Whether through immaturity or malice, who’s likely to misinterpret?

   As people, we must guard our words and as leaders, even more so; if we do not, everything we’ve tried to build, everyone we’ve tried to encourage—even people’s priceless reputations—can blow up in a micro-second. And let’s not forget one more thing: our own trustworthiness is on the line. After all, if we’ll talk about one person, why wouldn’t that put everyone else on notice that we’d talk about them as well?

   Jesus said we’ll be accountable for every idle word we speak. And no wonder.

                                                                               

 

 

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Guardian of the Realm: You.

Vietnam Soldier 2 edit

   One dark and solitary night fifty years ago at a remote Air Force base in Viet Nam, a soldier standing guard at a gate decided that, since it was such a quiet night, he could postpone the call of duty momentarily and answer the call of nature—he’d only be gone five minutes, if that. It was, after all, 3 am, the base was miles from anywhere, and Charlie hadn’t been spotted in two whole days. What he didn’t know was that Viet Cong troops were lurking nearby, just waiting for their chance to gain access to the military base. Fifteen minutes later, security had been breached, several aircraft blown to bits, and three airmen killed. And why?

   Because the soldier had let down his guard.

   The response most people have to that story is some version of “A soldier never leaves his post, under any circumstances—he should be court-martialed!”

   He was, but that’s not the point. The point is that most people commenting on that sad tale will swear on their paychecks that if they had been that soldier, they would have never let down their guard.

   And yet they do.

   The Apostle Paul, in his advice to his young protégé Timothy, warns him to guard closely what had been entrusted to his care (I Tim. 6:20).  Now many people (not us, of course) read that warning and discount it because Timothy was, after all, a pastor, and that stuff only applies to them.

   But not so fast. Granted, Timothy was a pastor and had much to guard, but when you break it down, much of what he was entrusted with is not so different than what we, ourselves, are responsible for. Timothy had a congregation, but we have people, too—spouses, children, parents, employees, students or even co-workers in one capacity or another. Peter warns leaders to “care for the flock that God has entrusted to you” (I Peter 5:2).  Of course, this admonition applies to all who are responsible for others. In fact, Jesus told His disciples (us) that we are even responsible for our “neighbors” —that being our fellow human beings.

   Paul also warns Timothy to guard against some things, “youthful lust” being one of them (II Tim. 2:22), and Paul warns all of us “not to think more highly of [ourselves] than [we] ought” (Romans 12:3). In other words, we need to guard against lust and pride. In fact, we should guard against anything that threatens our integrity and reputation.

   Another part of Paul’s warning to Timothy is to “carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you” (II Tim. 1:14), and to beware of men who deceive and pollute the purity of the Gospel. And while we aren’t necessarily responsible for what’s taught from the pulpit in our churches, what about guarding ourselves and our children from deception—from the insidious infiltration of the occult into our culture? “Innocent” games like Ouija boards and séances, “harmless” little excursions to the fortune teller at the carnival, or amusing little forays into the horoscope section of the newspaper? What about the crossbreeding of religions—a New Age dash of Zen Buddhism here, a refreshing mantra-laced Hindu meditation there, with a little Christian spice on top? (Except not the “Jesus is the only way” part because that is so closed-minded!)

   What about guarding against that?

   And what about the money that’s been entrusted to us? Cash or credit card? Save or splurge? Charitable causes or vacation? Hoard or share?  Jesus had a little bit to say in that regard: “‘Beware! Guard against every kind of greed…’” (Luke 12:15).

   And then there’s the heart. The Bible speaks in Proverbs about guarding our hearts—and that means not just who we fall in love with but rather what we open our hearts to. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (4:23). So— do we indulge in a perfectly-justified morsel of offense and/or unforgiveness when someone angers or hurts us? Or do we simply ignore the warnings and thereby allow those evils to take root and blossom into bitterness? And not just bitterness: “‘For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness’” (Mark 7:21-22).

If we don’t guard what we allow into our hearts, we’ll eventually have no control over the evil that comes from them.

   Do we guard our hearts?

   Finally, do we guard the most important treasure we have—our relationship with the Lord? Do we guard our time with Him? Granted, that’s not always easy, and I’m not in any position to imply that it is—but do we try? Do we go places with Him? Or are we always out with the guys, the girls, the kids? Do we read His book or watch our movie? Sunday morning worship or NFL pre-game tailgate party? (or brunch or soccer game or bubble bath?) And who has the final say in our decisions—the Lord or our Facebook friends?

   Is He in charge of our destiny or are we?

   Some not-too-distant day we’ll stand before the Lord to give an account for all that we’ve been assigned to do. And on that day, regardless of what we claim right now, we’ll only want to hear Jesus say one thing: “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with what I’ve entrusted to you’” (Luke 19:17).

   We talk a lot about having trust in God, but the unfathomable fact is that He’s trusting us to fulfill the assignment He’s given us. But that will only happen one way.

   You have a destiny. Guard it well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing the Odds.

bible

How do we know that the Bible is truly the Word of God?

That has to be the foundational question in all of Christianity.  After all, if people don’t believe that the Bible truly is God’s word and divinely inspired, then it would follow that we can’t use Scripture as a foundation for proof of the reality of God or the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Right?

Several years ago, I came to this conclusion as I found myself facing what I can only call a crisis of faith. Life had wound up and slapped me upside the head (as it sometimes does), and I came to the realization that, if I really wanted to do things God’s way in this dilemma, it was going to cost me a lot.  Therefore, I had to be certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if I were going to choose to do things according to Biblical principle, then those principles had better be true. 

But I wasn’t certain of that.

That’s when it hit me: I actually had some doubt as to whether the Word of God was really that – God’s word. So – I confessed that to God, and asked Him to give me some proof as to whether He really had written the Bible and, by extension – I guess I was really asking Him to prove to me that He even really existed.   After all, I reasoned, there are lots of religions in the world, and every person in every one of them believes that his or her beliefs are the “real thing.”  That wouldn’t be so disturbing if those beliefs were similar in nature but many of them are diametrically opposed to one another so – which one was real??  They couldn’t all be the truth . . .

As I confronted God about my confusion and asked Him to prove His reality to me (that takes nerve, thinking back . . .), I was really rather surprised when He did – and quickly.

Within a week, the Lord showed me that Biblical prophecy is the evidence that the Bible was indeed written by God. 

First, the Lord showed me that there are three different kinds of prophecy in the Bible: prophecy concerning the Jewish people, Messianic prophecy, and end-time prophecy. There are literally hundreds of these different kinds of prophecy embedded into the Word of God; in fact, there are over 300 Messianic prophecies alone in the Bible. 

For example, some of the prophecies concerning the Jewish people include their various exiles, captivities, and dispersions around the world. Others reveal what would happen to specific people such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Nebuchadnezzar, Samuel, Sampson, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Peter, Paul, Mary, John the Baptist, the disciples James and John, and Judas Iscariot.  Each of these people had prophecies given to them which predicted what would happen to them and/or their children in the future. 

In addition, there is Messianic prophecy, which is a description of who the Messiah would be and what He would do so that the Jewish people would recognize Him when He came. Some of these prophecies include where the Messiah would be born, what He would do during His life and ministry here on earth, how He would be received and treated by people, and how He would die and yes, rise again.

The last kind of prophecy, commonly called “End-Time” prophecy, is found primarily in the books of Daniel, Zachariah, Revelation, Matthew 24 and Mark 13. These prophecies predict all kinds of events that are to take place before the return of Jesus, including the return of the Jewish people to the nation of Israel, the rise of a one-world economy and of a one-world ruler, a world-wide increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters, and a devastating war which pretty much levels the planet. 

The point is that the odds of even a few of these prophecies coming to pass by chance are literally impossible.   For example, attorney and former atheist Josh McDowell calculated that the odds of just eight of the 300 Messianic prophecies about Jesus coming to pass through sheer coincidence (and more than eight already have) are a whopping 1023   – ten to the 23rd power (a ten followed by 23 zeroes). 

I don’t know if there’s even a name for that number. 

The bottom line is that a person has to have more faith to believe that it’s even possible for those kinds of odds to happen through sheer and random chance than simply to admit that there is a God and that the Bible was written by Him. Who else would be capable of predicting that many things and doing it accurately? 

I was convinced.

Of course, anyone can fact-check these prophecies and calculate the odds for themselves (if you can count that high). The point is that proof of God and His divine inspiration of the Bible is there for all people to see. 

That is – if they really want to see it.

 

 

Uncommon Sense

         common-sense-rip         Whatever happened to Common Sense?  Unfortunately, it’s not so common anymore. While Common Sense used to be everywhere – courtrooms, Congress, cable, and classic movies and literature – now not so much. Common Sense is rarely found these days in newspapers, judicial decisions, social policies or any kind of pop culture. And forget classrooms. 

In fact, Common Sense is well on his way to becoming extinct. Instead, he’s being replaced by his six other brothers.

         Let me introduce them to you.

         The oldest brother is Get Some Sense. He’s big on education and thinks that the more degrees he gets, the more wisdom he’ll have. As a result, he’s up to his neck in PhD’s, MA’s and MS’s, MD’s, and whatever other alphabets he can buy. Unfortunately, while he’s smart enough to know that a tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable, he’s not smart enough to know it doesn’t belong in his fruit salad. Furthermore, in his vast acquisition of knowledge, Get Some Sense has deemed social promotion, entitlement and self-esteem more important than hard work; government regulations more important than parental authority; and “political correctness” more important than, well – common sense.

         Then we have Common Sense’s next brother, N.O. Sense. (N.O. stands for “No Originality”.) NO Sense is, basically, a follower. Whatever’s popular or the current trend or whatever the crowd is doing, NO Sense will be found doing, too. Needless to say, he has very few independent thinking skills and even less interest in developing any. He’s the soul of every sort of mob mentality from bullying to violent protests to drug use and crime. Tragically, he’s never been known to be the source of any good deed.

         Next is Not-A-Lotta Sense. (He’s a twin.)  Not surprisingly, Not-A-Lotta has not been very successful in life. He’s not very open to listening to advice; in fact, he’s a do-it-yourselfer. He has to find out everything for himself. The hard way. Like the time he bought that fruity computer stock (something to do with apples) from some guy out of his garage and Uncle Milt told him to hold onto it. But he didn’t. He needed beer money. Sometimes Not-A-Lotta Sense is a slow learner.

         Not-A-Lotta’s twin bro is Lacking Sense. “S-Lacker,” as he’s known, has the ability to think for himself; he just doesn’t. He tends to rush into actions and decisions with not much forethought. He’s often late to work (when he’s working), drives too fast (license optional), and spends money like water (picture the faucet left running).  He is, however, really good at video games.

         And then there’s Dollars and Sense. Dollars believes everything is about money. The only two questions he ever asks when making any decisions are, “How much will it make me?” and “How much will it cost me?”  For example, since vacations generally cost money rather than make it, he’s never taken one. He did fly to Aruba once but that was just to deposit money into a “non-existent” bank account. (The rest he keeps under his mattress.) Dollars is also a big fan of insider trading. But you didn’t hear that from me.

         And finally, there’s the last brother, Non Sense, who’s been around, it seems, since the beginning of time. However, it actually hasn’t been that long. Non Sense really came into his own in the late 60’s and particularly made a name for himself at a place called Woodstock. Since then, he’s been spotted in various places including Hollywood, Washington DC, and in most universities around the world. Non Sense babbles frequently on talk shows, “news” networks, and U-Tube. Social media is also a favorite hang-out. If Non Sense friend-requests you, I don’t recommend you go there.

         So – since his six other brothers have taken over, Common Sense has become rather rare. He’s found in few places these days: old books which no one any longer reads, the minds and hearts of the “Greatest Generation” (aka – “obsolete” by later generations), and in original, unabridged copies of sacred documents like the U.S. Constitution and the Holy Bible. Common Sense has become so endangered that I now suppose he’s better known as – Uncommon Sense.

         I will miss him.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Believe It.

God’s Eye in Space (NASA)

gods-eye-nasa

Have you ever gotten a promise from God – and then you’re not certain you’ve gotten a promise from God? Probably. You get a word somehow – from the Bible, a sermon, another person – and you know it’s for you. God is speaking the very thing to you that you’ve been praying about or that’s been your heart’s desire or that you wondered if, someday, you could do. But then that promise seems too good to be true – and you begin to wonder . . .

“Did I really hear that? Or did I imagine it?” It happens. We begin to doubt our ability to hear God. Then we become afraid to believe what we’ve heard because – well, what if we’re wrong??

Gideon certainly had this problem. God told him that he would be the one used to lead Israel into battle against its enemies and Gideon, who was the least likely in all of Israel to be chosen to lead anything, wasn’t quite sure he’d heard correctly. So, he initiated the “fleece” test. You’ve heard of that? A “fleece” is any test we throw out to God asking Him to prove Himself to us. Can you imagine?? (But we’ve all done it.) So Gideon put out a sheep’s fleece and asked God to make it dry despite the dew and then to do the opposite: wet and no dew. Gideon needed to be absolutely certain it was God who had said to go and fight. He was afraid he’d heard incorrectly. But, as it turns out, he had heard right; God did speak to him to lead Israel into battle and promised him he would win. Which then caused Gideon to say:

 “Who? Me? I don’t deserve a promise like that!” No one does – but that’s our perspective, not God’s. If you randomly open to any given page in the Bible, odds are you’re going to find God choosing someone inconsequential to do something quite consequential. Reference Abraham, Moses (after he’d been banished to the desert), Esther, Joseph, Gideon, David, Rahab, most prophets, Mary, Peter, Mary Magdalene, Matt the tax collector – you get the idea. Somebody has to do great things. Why not you? And if your promise has to do with receiving a heart’s desire – getting married, having a child, doing any specific thing – remember that God stands behind those promises, too. Both Sarah and Hannah desired to have a child and both did. In addition, Jesus healed many people whose desire was for wholeness or deliverance; He even answered prayers to raise the dead. God wants to give you your heart’s desire.

Nathan the prophet, speaking for God, told David, “’Go and do all that is in your heart.’”

“What if God changes His mind about what He promised me?” I don’t believe God does that – primarily based on what He says about changing His mind: “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Num. 23:19). Translation: If God has given you a promise, it will happen.

The Lord gives us an interesting illustration in the Word to make the point that His word is unchanging, trustworthy, and reliable. Both King Xerxes in the book of Esther and King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel gave commands they later regretted. Xerxes gave a command allowing the slaughter of all Jewish people (not knowing Esther was Jewish), and Nebuchadnezzar gave a command to put to death anyone who insisted on worshiping anyone other than himself (not knowing Daniel had done this). However, having given the commands, even the kings could not revoke their own word. So if the word of mere man was so invariable, how much more the Word of God? As the Lord says about His own word: “’As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’” (Is. 55: 10-11). Period.

“But what if I can’t do it??” Abraham expressed this fear right after God had promised him “the land,” saying, “’O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it [the land]?’” (Gen. 15:8). Abraham wasn’t questioning God’s faithfulness to His promise. Rather, Abraham was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to live up to the promise and “gain possession of it”. He didn’t understand that it wasn’t up to him to fulfill the promise – it was God’s work to do. In fact, the Lord goes on to tell Abraham that this possession of the land would happen long after he had died and that it would be His doing, not Abe’s. “’To your descendents I give this land . . .’” (vs. 18-19). If you’re worried about whether you “can do it,” remember God’s word to Zerubbabel: “’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty’” (Zech 4:6).

If you’ve received a promise from God regarding a dream, a vision, a destiny, count on it because the thing is this: the fulfillment of that promise does not depend on you; it depends on God.

Your job?  Just believe it.

 

The “Insignificant” Days of Your Destiny

           The Beginning Book Cover 2 A lifelong relationship begins with a “hello”.  A business begins with the very first customer.  A mighty oak tree begins with a small acorn.  Writing a book begins with the first word.  A concert pianist begins with “Chopsticks”. Losing pounds begins with the first day of the diet.  A dynasty begins with one man and one woman.

            “Do not despise the day of small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zech. 4:10).

            God rarely begins a person on the highway to his or her destiny in a big way.  Not that He can’t, but there is much to be learned on the road from small to big. And depending on what our dreams and destinies are, lessons will vary. 

            For example, how to manage people is a big lesson for anyone wanting to own their own business. Businesses rarely begin with more than a handful of employees so that owners learn how to hire wisely, manage workers with the right balance of respect and authority, and handle personnel problems.  Imagine trying to learn all of that with dozens of employees. Or a military service member – he or she begins as the lowest-ranked soldier or officer and grows into more responsibility through promotion.  To begin as an admiral or general would probably not work. Many other examples come to mind. Talents for writing or music or art must be developed; one begins small, writing for a school paper, performing in a music recital, or painting a school mural.

            “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.”

            We often want to start big and then get frustrated when we can’t.  Or, we get tired of working, practicing, doing and re-doing and so we quit, thinking the dream will never happen.  But here’s a principle: the bigger the destiny, the long the prep time.  Oak trees take decades to become full grown.  Masters take decades to perfect their crafts.  Multi-million dollar companies take many years to become that profitable.

The fact is that to appreciate the value of “small beginnings,” we have to realize that all of life is about “becoming.”

            We make the mistake of asking children what they want to “be” when they grow up.  Rather we should be asking them what they want to “become.”  Small distinction but the message is huge: “becoming” takes time and work.  Fortunately, the Bible contains many examples of “becoming” from small beginnings.

            David, for example, spent years by himself learning to shepherd sheep and fight the lions and bears.  After that, he spent 16 years hiding in caves from Saul who wanted to kill him.  What did he learn from all that trauma?  Warfare, leadership and honor. And what did he become?  A mighty warrior and a king. 

            Joseph was sold as a slave to a rich Egyptian (not fair), during which time he rose to favor for his ability to organize the entire estate and business, causing both to grow and prosper.  And what did Joseph learn?  He mastered the Egyptian language, culture, customs, and upper class etiquette as well as how to manage an estate, its staff and businesses.  God was training him to become an administrator.

            But then Joseph went to jail, accused of something he didn’t do (also not fair.) But while there, Joseph exhibited his talent for management and so the chief jailor put him in charge of all of the prisoners and prison affairs.

            But why prison?

            In prison, Joseph had become one of the “lower class,” the prisoners, and so he learned about their ways of thinking, their culture and customs.  He learned how it felt to be them.

            Needless to say, it was quite the coincidence that he’d need to know all of that as Joseph became Egypt’s second in command to Pharaoh.

            Esther is another example – my favorite.  Esther was among the young women “kidnapped” and put into the Babylonian king’s harem so that he could, he hoped, find his next queen.  But before Esther could even hope to become queen, she first had to spend a year in the king’s harem – not, generally speaking, the first pick for a virtuous young Jewish girl.  But in the midst of the beauty treatments, Esther learned the Babylonian language, culture and, I’m certain, a great deal about how to navigate the politics of a royal court and its country.  And as we later find out, she needed that intel to become the one to save her people from annihilation. 

            What do David, Joseph and Esther have in common?

            While they suffered much in the circumstances they were thrust into, each one still made the best of the situation by doing the best they could.  They exhibited humility, excellence and honor despite their long periods of hardship.  And here’s the endgame: each of them was promoted to royalty.

            They did not despise their days of small beginnings.

             Don’t be discouraged at the small beginnings of your dream or destiny. It can seem overwhelming when you envision how far you have to go so, as Michael Hyatt says, “Just do the next thing in front of you.” Then trust the Lord to grow the dream.  Remember: “the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

            Your work.

What’s In Your Hand?

Candle in Hand“What’s in your hand?”

This is one of the most important questions we can ask . What do we already have that we can use, develop, share, multiply, or work with?  It’s a question we must ask ourselves, and it’s often the question God will ask us.

What do we have that we are responsible to use?  What strength, talent, resource, gifting, insight, or ability do we have to help people, provide for needs, solve a problem, earn a living – or whatever else the current dilemma may be?

Here’s the issue: we are so used to looking outside of ourselves for help or provision that we forget to do what God often wants us to do: to start with whatever we might have – no matter how small or seemingly insufficient – and trust Him to make it all we need.

Take David, for example.  What did David have that he committed to God to use?  A slingshot and a stone.  Even when King Saul offered to David his royal armor and sword (which is a very big deal for a king), David turned them down and chose instead to use what God had put into his hand and not what man wanted to put there.  And we all know how that turned out.

Another example is when the disciples came to Jesus, requesting that He provide for 5000 hungry men and their families.  Jesus’ response?

“What do you have?”

The disciples – very often like us – were baffled by His question.  Their panicked response was that they had only five loaves and two fish.  In other words, “We got nothin’.”

But to Jesus, it wasn’t “nothing.”  It was what was in their hands.

Can God make something out of nothing?  Of course.  When He made the universe, he didn’t even have any stardust.  And sometimes, when we truly have nothing, God works with that.  But because God is as interested in growing our faith as in solving our problems, He requires us to step up and be involved.  And we do that by offering what we have and then letting Him multiply it.

The Bible is full of this principle.  In I Kings, Elijah asked a widow for some water and bread.  When she answered that she had only “a little oil” to mix with enough grain for one last meal, the prophet told her not to be afraid and to bake him a small loaf of bread. Then he took what she had and multiplied her oil so that she and her son never went hungry again.  That wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t given what she had.

Another example is the woman who broke the alabaster jar of perfume over Jesus’ feet. In her defense (because, of course, someone had to criticize her for it), Jesus’ response was,  ” ‘She has done what she could do’ ” (Mk. 14:8).

Isn’t that all any of us can do?

 Even when all we have is very little – as was the case with the widow who had only two pennies to put into the offering at the Temple – to God it’s enough.  Jesus pointed out that widow and told His disciples, ” ‘She has given everything she has.’ “

She gave what was in her hand.

Who else?

Noah gave his time and energy to build an ark and, as a result, God saved the lives of Noah and his family.  Hannah pledged her only son to the Lord – and God gave her several more children.  Joseph gave his protection and provision to Mary and Jesus (when he could’ve walked away), and God gave him the reputation of being one of the greatest fathers in history.  Esther offered to God her influence with the king in order to try to save her people – even at the risk of her own life – and God saved everyone’s life and blessed Esther  as well.  Mary, herself, when asked by the angel Gabriel if she would consent to being the mother of the Messiah (because she could’ve said no, too) she risked everything – her reputation, her future security, her very life – with her response:  ” ‘I am the handmaiden of the Lord.  May it be done unto me as you have said.’ ”  She gave what was in her power to give – and trusted God with it.

What has God put into our hands?  It may be a resource – money or possessions; it may be a talent or ability; it may be an act of obedience.  Whatever “it” is, it’s never too small or insignificant a thing to offer to God.

The Lord has put a pen into my hand – and so, in an effort to be faithful to what He has given to me, this site, “DestinyHighway.com,” was born. My goal with it is to help you to take what you’ve been given and – make your destiny happen!

What’s in your hand?

 

So DONE!

Man in DespairHave you ever been so desperate to hear from God or to have Him move on your behalf that, having tried everything else, you finally just pitch a fit.

Have you ever been angry at God?

Maybe you feel you’ve been tried beyond your limits: a person in your life who – for days, months, years – has tested your patience and love beyond bearing? A job which – while you’re grateful to have one – you dread going to each and every day? Or you need a job, any job? Perhaps you’ve been waiting a long time for the desire of your heart – a husband or wife? A dream you believe you’ve been called to? A child?

Maybe you’ve been praying for the salvation of a loved one for half a lifetime – and they seem to be getting further away from the Lord, not closer. Perhaps you’re desperate to be healed or to see a loved one healed – and pain is all you know in the meantime. Maybe you’re enduring a heartbreaking marriage – and despite all of your pleading and prayers, the dream just isn’t happening.

Maybe you have financial problems: bills you can’t pay or college or retirement you can’t afford? Or just when you begin to get on your feet, something else breaks down, wears out, needs repairs or someone gets sick? What if your heart’s been broken just one too many times and you just can’t bear one more minute of pain?

What then?

What if, in the midst of any or all of those trials, heartaches, persecutions, and crisises, you’ve said every prayer you can think of or you’ve put on the game face and willed yourself to worship one more time or you’ve fasted till you’re skin and bones or you’ve declared every promise in the Bible? What if you’ve tithed every penny you’ve ever earned and forgiven till you’re blue in the face and haven’t missed church in seven years? What if you’ve read the Bible through three times in a year, pray two hours a day (on your knees), and clean toilets every week at church.

What if all of that – and you still just can’t seem to get God’s attention.


     Have you ever been there?  So worn out from waiting, crying, pleading, dealing, declaring, and waiting some more that you finally decide God needs a little drama?


Sometimes, in the midst of desperate circumstances over a long period of time, when everything we know to do has failed to move God’s hand – we take circumstances into our own hands. Continue reading So DONE!