Genesis 28:16 ‘Surely, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it. How awesome is this place.’
Too many of us are always thinking about what we lack rather than what we already possess. It’s so easy in our culture to allow lack and discontentment to rule our lives rather than thanksgiving and gratitude.
Could it be that you are right in the middle of your miracle unfolding before you but because you are so distracted by your perception of lack, you are, unfortunately, missing out?
In the bible, Jacob, son of Isaac, was on the adventure of his life but it took a dream from God to wake him up to the fact that he was in the middle of a miracle, the Promised Land.
What does God have to do in your life to wake you up to the truth that his presence is with you and that your miracle is unfolding before you? Never judge your life by circumstance alone but realise that there is more happening behind the scenes than what you can see with your natural eyes.
Too easily do we look at the issue of ‘calling’ through the lens of contemporary cultural paradigms rather than what the bible actually reveals to us.
A calling is God’s unique soul print on a person’s identity (Ps 139:13-15). A calling is a strong heart conviction that God burdens you with (Rom 4:20-21). A calling is God’s anointing that rests upon you (1 Sam 16:13). A calling transcends a job or specific occupation (Acts 9:15, the apostle Paul worked as a tent maker but was called to be an apostle to the gentiles). A calling is witnessed to by others, especially spiritual authority (Jn 1:29).
Calling comes in different shapes and sizes and transcends the practical application of it being outworked. Noah saved a remnant by building a boat. Abraham became the father of many nations by faith in God’s promise. Moses delivered a nation by leading them out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Elijah performed signs and wonders as prophet to Israel.
The difference between a calling and a career is remarkable:
- Calling = Treasure in heaven VS Career = $ on earth
- Calling = Life of sacrifice VS Career = Life of convenience
- Calling = God’s always right VS Career = Your rights
- Calling = Applause of heaven VS Career = Applause of man
- Calling = Faithfulness VS Career = Success
- Calling = Continues VS Career = Conclusion
What are you pursuing, a calling or a career?
Servant-hood is a good calling. Sonship is a great calling. Sonship is at the epicentre of God’s heart. A son will have a heart ownership that a servant will never truly understand. Leaders, build your organisation’s future on sons not servants. Servant’s will only take it so far, sons will die for the cause they carry it in their hearts.
A father’s future rests in their sons and daughters, not on those who simply serve them. A son carries the DNA of the house, a servant ob-serves the DNA of the house. King David had a son, Solomon. It was on the back of Solomon that the kingdom moved forward, not on the back of someone who simply was serving their own agenda.
Abraham had a son, Isaac, who had a son, Jacob. The big 3! The whole purpose and promise of God rested on the baton of faith being passed down from one generation to the next. God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled on the back of sons, not servants. Hagar was a servant used to fulfil God’s promise man’s way. Ishmael was the result and God rejected him. But God used and blessed the son of the promise.
Prophet Elijah had a son in the faith, Elisha. Elisha saw Elijah as his spiritual father but Elisha didn’t pass the baton on. Elisha had a servant, Gehazi. Gehazi served Elisha for his own agenda and the legacy wasn’t passed on.
What are you building and who are you building with? Are you building on sons or servants? How do you know the difference?
- Sons always honour
- Sons champion your vision, not their own
- Sons are proven over time
- Sons protect your back
- Sons are honest with you
- Sons are on the frontline with you
- Sons endure pain with you
- Sons help you do, what you do better
- Sons know what you want before you open your mouth
I’m fortunate enough to have had spiritual sons and daughters partner with me in my ministry. The end result is huge. Sons always benefit themselves from the father because the father’s one desire is to bless the son as much as possible. The Father modelled to us in Matthew 3 what his heart and desire was for Jesus, ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.’
The prophetic is the only one of the 5 offices that has a long and scripturally detailed history reaching back into the early origins of the Old Testament and God’s people, Israel. Understanding the historic origins of the prophet helps us understand how we are to operate in this ministry today.
There is a vast difference between one who stands in the office and one who prophesies in the moment. When God gives someone a word for the moment, the person is not responsible post the delivery of the word to stand in the office but a true prophet is called to wear a mantle that cannot be removed.
The word prophet comes from the Hebrew word nabi meaning ‘speaker’, one whose mouth has been touched to speak for God. Some think that a prophet is one who only foretells the future or speaks of things only God could know.The truth is, when prophets are called to speak, it is about anything God wants to address, the past, present or future, revealing things hidden or merely speaking of what is mundane and well-known.
The word ‘prophet’ was first mentioned in Genesis 20:6-7, describing Abraham as a prophet, in the context of healing. After Abraham we see the prophetic office established in Moses ministry, as the purpose of prophets was revealed: to listen to God for the people.
Today, it is still the same. God wants to have fellowship with his children and he wants us to listen to him. But some will not and others seemingly find it very difficult to hear God and this is where prophets are needed, because in God’s wisdom he speaks to his prophets on issues that he does not reveal and discuss with every one of his people. Until that time in the future when the perfect one comes and all will know him, from the least to the greatest, prophets and their office are necessary.
Don’t despise the Lord’s servants, the Prophets and their prophetic utterances but hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches.
Read Genesis 16 for context.
Genesis 16 is the account of Sarai, Abram and Hagar. It’s got a plot line that would rival any episode of ‘Days of our lives’. Sarai and Abram have received a promise from God many, many years before but they have grown impatient and frustrated with God’s apparent memory loss of his promises to them. Due to their impatience and impetuosity, Sarai comes up with a bright idea, to help God’s promises to come to pass. She offers her husband, her very own maidservant as a wife. Just brilliant! Of course, Abe being a red-blooded, half moron male decides it’s a brilliant idea as well and ends up sleeping with Hagar and ‘kaboom’ ‘WW1 the prequal’ begins in the centre of the household. Some principles that emerge for our benefit today are:
- Don’t misinterpret delay as denial – We live in the space-time continuum, God doesn’t. He exists outside of it. His purposes are established in alignment with his timing which is, in the grand scheme of eternity, perfect. God makes everything beautiful in its time. Some promises of God come to pass quickly, some take a lot longer to come to pass and we being finite, impetuous human beings want everything the moment we conceive the idea or hear God’s word to us. When God’s promises delay we conclude that we heard wrong or that God is not interested in us anymore because we must have done something wrong. To conclude this would be to conclude wrong.
- When you misinterpret God, you try to accomplish in your own strength what can only be achieved in God’s strength. That which is born of the flesh must be sustained by the flesh. That which is born of the Spirit must be sustained by the Spirit. Too many of us are tiring ourselves out, unnecessarily, because we are pursuing things, God has never sanctioned or ordained for us. Attempting short-cuts to get close to God’s promises only ever ends up in conflict and frustration. It causes conflicts in relationships and it actually delays what God wants to do anyway.
- Cutting corners on God’s promises leads to bitterness and more pain. The ‘Hagar Highway’ only ever takes you into bitterness and more frustration. Near enough isn’t good enough. Good enough isn’t satisfactory from God’s perspective. God has plan A and he intends to bring plan A to pass. Don’t settle for short-cuts when deep down you know you are just being immature, impatient and finding it difficult to trust in God (Prov 3:5-6).
I know exactly what delay feels like, because I have lived in delay most of my ministry. Trust me, shortcuts never provide the answers you are looking for. They are simply a mirage. Instead, run to God. Ask him the hard questions, remind him of his promises. Do what he’s asking you to do right now with what he has put into your hands. Stop complaining to others and start complaining to God. The funny thing is, he can take it from you way more than you think he can. He may even give you the answer you are looking for.
God’s call will always require the help of the right people.
People will either hinder your call or help your call. The people you build relationships with aren’t just bodies filling up spaces, they are spirits that influence atmosphere’s. The people you let into your relational spaces are influencing the spiritual atmosphere of your life more than you think. Bad company ruins good character. When the Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Galatia he said, “You were running well, WHO hindered you?” (Gal 5:7). Notice he didn’t say WHAT hindered you but WHO hindered you?
God blesses you through people but Satan can also curse you through people as well. It takes sharp discernment to know the difference. Not every person that enters your life, should you turn your landing lights on for. Unfortunately, I, like many other Christians have believed that we are to have relational space for every person that passes our way because we are supposed to ‘love our neighbour as we love ourselves’ and we are to be accepting of people in whatever form they come in. The biblical mandate to love and honour each other is unchanging, however God did not build you to have relational space for everyone. Your spirit has infinite capacity to connect with God but you do not have infinite capacity to include every passerby in your relational space.
Some people are allies, some are acquaintances, some people are partners in the call God has placed upon you and some are simply ‘no fly-zone’ people. Just as a country has controlled airspace that stops foreign military aircraft from drifting across its borders, we should have some controlled relational space that doesn’t allow unhealthy co-dependent relationships to develop. Never drift into a relationship without thinking, ‘What space in my life will this person occupy?’
Every relationship in your life belongs in a certain space. It’s what I call ‘Spacial Relationships’. Spacial miscalculations could cost you dearly in more ways than you realize. Hello Abraham and Lot!
When God called Abram to leave his family and go to the promised-land, he did not invite Lot to go with Abram but Abram did and it cost both Lot and Abram dearly. Never invite someone on the journey God hasn’t invited to go with you. Conflict arose between Lot’s growing family and Abram’s growing family and they had to part ways. It wasn’t until after Lot left Abram that God spoke to Abram again about his calling. Sometimes it isn’t until certain people leave your life can God speak what he needs to because God’s fresh revelation might be polluted by the influence of uninvited people. When God declared his intention of destroying Lot’s place of residence, Abram felt responsibility to rescue Lot. Whatever relationship you author, you have to perfect, but whatever relationship God authors, God’s spirit helps perfect. As Lot and his wife flee the town that is now burning sulfur, Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. A Hefty price to pay for a spacial miscalculation.
Take responsibility for your relational space and look for kingdom connections. God’s got a global dot to dot plan and if we tune into his call, He will partner us up with the people He wants us to be in relationship with.