HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR CALLING? (1)

Have you read about two builders named Bezalel and Oholiab? God speaks about them: “I have chosen Bezalel … and … filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts … Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab … to help him” (Ex 31:2-6 NIV). And there are other examples where God’s call was not “religious” in a formal

sense, like Nehemiah the wall builder, Daniel the government man in Babylon, Luke the first century physician. So consider this: your job could be your calling! When you demonstrate Christian character there, and use your income to fulfill God’s purposes on earth, you are as called as any minister.

And your past doesn’t disqualify you. Paul wrote, “I was … a blasphemer … and a violent man” (1Ti 1:13 NIV). Happily, God doesn’t consult our past to determine our future. Further- more, God will call you to a job that looks too big for you. Why? So you’ll never forget where your strength and success come from. Calls are not classified ads; you don’t volunteer, you respond! God speaks, He persistently nudges you. In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell says, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” All your human accolades and accomplishments will eventually leave you empty. Lasting pleasure, the kind only God provides, comes from knowing you are doing what He’s told you to do. Eventually Eric Liddell became a missionary; so your call can begin one place then take you to another. Whenever you know you’re doing what God has called you to do-you experience a lasting pleasure that simply can’t be found anywhere else!



“OLDER BROTHER” ATTITUDES!

There were two prodigals! The younger brother was guilty of the sins of the flesh; the older was guilty of the sins of the spirit (attitude). When Jesus’ parable closes it’s the older brother, the second prodigal, standing outside the father’s house. When we focus only on our own interests we become like the older brother. We nurture attitudes of jealousy and selfishness. Understand this: Christians who possess no greater cause than themselves, are usually not as happy or fulfilled as those who don’t know Christ yet have a purpose greater than themselves. This older brother attitude has 3 possible results:

(1) It’s possible to be a son yet refuse to act like a brother. Outwardly the older brother was correct, but look at his resentful attitude. A wrong relationship with your brother and sister in Christ always results in a strained relationship with your Heavenly Father.

(2) It’s possible to serve God faithfully yet not be in sync with His will. The elder brother had no idea why their father would rejoice over a disobedient son’s return. Self-centered, judgmental people never “get it.”

(3) It’s possible to be an heir to all your father possesses yet have less joy and liberty than one who possesses nothing. The hired servants were happier than the older brother. They ate, laughed and celebrated while he stood outside demanding his rights. The older brother attitude robbed him of the blessings of his father, the love of his brother, and the joy of the servants. And an older brother attitude will block the flow of God’s blessing in your life too.



EXPERIENCING THE MIRACULOUS

Do whatever he tells you. -John 2:5 NAS

Do you need a miracle? Reread the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Notice what Mary said to the attendants at the wedding reception: “Do whatever [Jesus] tells you.” Do it, even though:

( 1) You’re not in the right place. They were at a wedding, not a church, when Jesus performed this miracle. Some of our greatest blessings will be at “other places” if we’ll just be sensitive and obedient to God.

(2) You’ve got a lot of problems. They’d run out of wine for their guests. How embarrassing. Too often our problems drive us away from Jesus instead of to Him. Miracles begin when we focus on God’s power instead of our problems.

(3) You’re not being encouraged. When Mary turned to Jesus for help He tested her faith saying, “Dear woman, why

do you involve me … My time has not yet come” (In 2:4 NJV). But she passed the test. Instead of being discouraged Mary laid hold of the possibility of a miracle, believed God and received one.

(4) You haven’t walked with Christ very long. The attendants who obeyed Jesus had just met Him. And His disciples

had just started following Him. Yet they were all expected to obey Him. So are you.

(5) You haven’t yet seen Him work miracles in your life. This was Jesus’ first miracle. They had to obey Him without the faith that comes from a previous track record. That’s always challenging!

(6) You don’t understand the process. Why pour water into empty containers? Answer: give Jesus what you’ve got and He’ll give you back what you need.

That’s how to experience the miraculous!



EXPERIENCING THE MIRACULOUS

Do you need a miracle? Reread the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Notice what Mary said to the attendants at the wedding reception: “Do whatever [Jesus] tells you.” Do it, even though:

( 1) You’re not in the right place. They were at a wedding, not a church, when Jesus performed this miracle. Some of our greatest blessings will be at “other places” if we’ll just be sensitive and obedient to God.

(2) You’ve got a lot of problems. They’d run out of wine for their guests. How embarrassing. Too often our problems drive us away from Jesus instead of to Him. Miracles begin when we focus on God’s power instead of our problems.

(3) You’re not being encouraged. When Mary turned to Jesus for help He tested her faith saying, “Dear woman, why

do you involve me … My time has not yet come” (In 2:4 NJV). But she passed the test. Instead of being discouraged Mary laid hold of the possibility of a miracle, believed God and received one.

(4) You haven’t walked with Christ very long. The attendants who obeyed Jesus had just met Him. And His disciples

had just started following Him. Yet they were all expected to obey Him. So are you.

(5) You haven’t yet seen Him work miracles in your life. This was Jesus’ first miracle. They had to obey Him without the faith that comes from a previous track record. That’s always challenging!

(6) You don’t understand the process. Why pour water into empty containers? Answer: give Jesus what you’ve got and He’ll give you back what you need.

That’s how to experience the miraculous!



PUT YOUR FAMILY FIRST

There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers. -Proverbs 30: 11 NIV

Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the world-renowned heart transplant surgeon, tells of leaving Minneapolis to return to his wife and children in Cape Town after being gone for months. “I was unprepared for her greeting. ‘Why did you come back?’

There was no longer a smile in her eyes. Oh God, I thought, I’ve made the most horrible mistake of my life. ‘Don’t look so

surprised’ she said. ‘We gave up on you.’ I responded, ‘It was only a little delay. I wrote you about it.’ ‘No, you wrote once to say you weren’t coming home.’ He answered, ‘But we were building aortic valves to save lives.’ ‘No, you were building a family. That is, until you dumped it into my lap,’ she said bitterly. ‘We have ceased to exist for you.’ I wanted to say I’d come home because I love my children and I loved her. I wanted to because I felt it, but what could I say now that would not sound meaningless.”

Dr. James Dobson writes, “A sixth grade teacher in an upper-middle-class neighborhood was shocked to see the results of a creative writing task about their family, assigned to her students. A few of their actual sentences read: I wish my

mother didn’t have a boyfriend .. .I wish I could get straight “A’s” so my father would love me .. .I wish I had one mom and one dad so that kids wouldn’t make fun of me. I have three moms and three dads and they botch up my life.” Parent, wise up. Put your family first or you’ll live to regret it!



PUT YOUR FAMILY FIRST

Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the world-renowned heart transplant surgeon, tells of leaving Minneapolis to return to his wife and children in Cape Town after being gone for months. “I was unprepared for her greeting. ‘Why did you come back?’

There was no longer a smile in her eyes. Oh God, I thought, I’ve made the most horrible mistake of my life. ‘Don’t look so

surprised’ she said. ‘We gave up on you.’ I responded, ‘It was only a little delay. I wrote you about it.’ ‘No, you wrote once to say you weren’t coming home.’ He answered, ‘But we were building aortic valves to save lives.’ ‘No, you were building a family. That is, until you dumped it into my lap,’ she said bitterly. ‘We have ceased to exist for you.’ I wanted to say I’d come home because I love my children and I loved her. I wanted to because I felt it, but what could I say now that would not sound meaningless.”

Dr. James Dobson writes, “A sixth grade teacher in an upper-middle-class neighborhood was shocked to see the results of a creative writing task about their family, assigned to her students. A few of their actual sentences read: I wish my

mother didn’t have a boyfriend .. .I wish I could get straight “A’s” so my father would love me .. .I wish I had one mom and one dad so that kids wouldn’t make fun of me. I have three moms and three dads and they botch up my life.” Parent, wise up. Put your family first or you’ll live to regret it!



BE A TITUS-ENCOURAGE SOMEONE!

How delightful is a timely word.  – Proverbs 15:23 NAS

Some of the people around you, even successful ones, are dying on the vine for lack of encouragement. Solomon writes, “How delightful is a timely word.” Isn’t that true? It’s delightful to receive a timely word. The Message says, “The right word at the right time-beautiful!” Encouragement brings emotional healing, restores hope by putting the problem into perspective, and makes the day more bearable. Is there someone you know who needs encouragement? A prisoner trying to stay strong in a hostile environment while repaying his debt to society? A divorcee trying to rebuild their life? A bread- winner who’s out of work, worried about their family? A widow who needs companionship? A servant of God laboring in an obscure and difficult ministry? Everyone is snuggling with something-so everyone needs encouragement.

William Barclay writes, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. . .it is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of such dis- couragers. But we have a duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer, has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.” Paul writes: “Outside, trouble was on every hand … within us, our hearts were full of dread and fear. Then God who cheers those who are discouraged refreshed us by the arrival of Titus. Not only was his presence a joy, but also the news that he brought” (2 Cor 7:5-7 TLB). So, be a Titus – encourage someone today.



SERVANT LEADERSHIP

Christ … made himself of no reputation.  -Philippians 2:5-7

If He Who is called “Lord of Lords” became a servant of all, how can you, in your right mind, think you should be served by those you lead? Paul writes: “Christ. .. made himself of no reputation” (Php 2:5-7). Reputation is so important to us. We want to be seen with the right people, remembered in the right light, live in the right neighborhood and drive the right car. Not Christ. He made Himself of no reputation. If you’re obsessed with the size of your congregation (or business), the famous people you can reach on speed-dial, the trappings of your lifestyle or the image you’ve carefully cultivated, read John, Chapter 13. Jesus stooped low enough to wash the feet of crude Galilean fishermen, then said, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done” (In 13:1.5). Whose feet did He wash? The feet of common people. Surely those people walked away changed, humbled by a lesson they’d never forget–one we all need to learn!

 

Peter writes, “1 have a special concern for you church leaders … Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with

all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not ‘bossily’ telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way …

God has had it with the proud, but takes delight in just plain people. So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time” ( I Pet 5:1-6 TM).


WHY BE HONEST?

Far better to be right and poor than to be wrong and rich.  -Proverbs 16:8 TM

After a week of special meetings, the guest preacher approached the airline desk to purchase a flight for home. Ticket in hand, he took a seat in the waiting area. Checking his credit card receipt, he realized the attendant had undercharged him almost fifty percent. “It’s wonderful how God provides,” he rationalized. The church hadn’t paid him too well and the bills were piling up at home. For the next half hour he wrestled with himself, although, deep down he knew what he had to do. Finally he returned to the desk and said to the attendant, “I think you made a mistake.” “No,” she replied, you

see, I was in church last night when you spoke on honesty, and I thought I’d put you to the test.” Why be honest? Because people are watching. Your actions and attitudes, in even the smallest of details, are forming the opinions of those who hear you claim to be a follower of Christ.

There’s a golden moment in the life of Samuel the prophet. It’s his retirement. Standing before the nation he’d led for 40

years, he asks, “Have I ever taken advantage of you or exploited you? Have I ever taken a bribe or played fast and loose with the law? Bring your complaint and I’ll make it right. ‘Oh no,’ they said, ‘never have you done any of that'” (ISa 12:3 TM). When those who’ve known you best for 4 decades can say that about you, you did it right. And that’s as good as it gets!



WHY BE HONEST?

Far better to be right and poor than to be wrong and rich.  -Proverbs 16:8 TM

After a week of special meetings, the guest preacher approached the airline desk to purchase a flight for home. Ticket in hand, he took a seat in the waiting area. Checking his credit card receipt, he realized the attendant had undercharged him almost fifty percent. “It’s wonderful how God provides,” he rationalized. The church hadn’t paid him too well and the bills were piling up at home. For the next half hour he wrestled with himself, although, deep down he knew what he had to do. Finally he returned to the desk and said to the attendant, “I think you made a mistake.” “No,” she replied, you

see, I was in church last night when you spoke on honesty, and I thought I’d put you to the test.” Why be honest? Because people are watching. Your actions and attitudes, in even the smallest of details, are forming the opinions of those who hear you claim to be a follower of Christ.

There’s a golden moment in the life of Samuel the prophet. It’s his retirement. Standing before the nation he’d led for 40

years, he asks, “Have I ever taken advantage of you or exploited you? Have I ever taken a bribe or played fast and loose with the law? Bring your complaint and I’ll make it right. ‘Oh no,’ they said, ‘never have you done any of that'” (ISa 12:3 TM). When those who’ve known you best for 4 decades can say that about you, you did it right. And that’s as good as it gets!




 

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