2 Chronicles 25:2 “And he (Amaziah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.”
The book of Chronicles lists the names and exploits of the Kings of Judah and Israel post King David. It reads like a Game of Thrones episode filled with betrayals, assassinations and uprisings. King Amaziah began to reign in Judah when he was 25yrs old and he was described as someone who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart. It’s possible to do things by the book but your whole heart not be in it. It’s possible to tick the box but not own it where it counts. What has God asked of you, that you are skimming the surface on, but not really committing to? This is the difference between good and great ministry. Good ministry does the right things but great ministry does the right things with a full heart behind it. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and soul and strength (Mt 22:37). Doing what’s right in the eyes of God, yet not with a whole heart leaves the door open for inevitable compromise. It’s living with a Plan B lurking in the background waiting to pounce. Shut the door on compromise and say goodbye to Plan B. Don’t just tick the religious box and settle for surface level obedience. Live life with a whole heart. Own what God’s asked of you, embracing it in your heart. Clear your conscience and dive completely into God’s will and purpose for your life. Live from a whole heart. Selah!
Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Whatever limitations you’ve placed on yourself and others because of your current circumstances and life experiences, they are powerless to deny the truth of God’s nature and power. Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah was 90 years old when they conceived God’s promised child, Isaac. This event is an historical fact that was the byproduct of faith in God’s promise. Faith calls those things that are not as if they already were and moves boldly towards God’s promise with assurance and conviction. God’s character is perpetually oriented towards goodness and his power to break natural law knows no boundary. Stop putting a full stop on God’s conversation with you and your situation. It’s not over till God says it’s over. God loves you, is with you and wants the very best for you. By faith, come into agreement with God’s promises over your life and prepare yourself to soon share another testimony of God’s faithfulness to you. Nothing is too hard for God. Selah!
Isaiah 6:8-9 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people..”
God is looking to and fro across the earth for people he can use to accomplish specific assignments in the building of his kingdom. Before Isaiah became a prominent prophetic voice to Israel, he firstly was an everyday believer in God who made himself available. Availability is the first prerequisite for being used mightily by God. Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land“. To answer God’s call on your life, you must be first willing and secondly obedient. Not only did God call Isaiah but he counselled him in what to say. Too often we are attempting to come up with something inspirational that will connect with people, rather than simply sharing out of the well of what God has already revealed to us. If you want God to call you and use you mightily, first examine your heart and ask, “Am I available? Am I willing? Am I going to obey what he’s asked me to do? Selah!
Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. (Song of Songs 2:15)
It’s the little things in life that make the biggest difference. Life is the accumulation of little things, little thoughts, little words, little actions and little choices. The pathway to your destiny begins with a little thought. God has appointed you to a vineyard of gifting and responsibility. Ultimately, it’s not the BIG things that threaten the fruitfulness of your vineyard, as it is, the little things along the way that if you don’t catch now can undermine you later. What are the little foxes in your life that are derailing your hopes and dreams? Identify them, catch them and do something about them before they take you out.
It’s interesting to consider the factors that shape our future. It’s easy to let the currents of life move us through the ebb and flow of each day, without us really stopping to take note and consider where we are really heading. I think there are several factors that shape our future in an intentional way.
Gods Sovereignty – The heart of man plans his way but the Lord orders his steps. God is sovereign over the affairs of the universe and although you may seriously question the reality of Gods Sovereignty, due to the overwhelming amount of pain and suffering in the world, I find myself believing even more readily in the involvement of Gods Sovereignty in the trajectory of where the world is heading. A cursory glance of Scripture will give you a big picture perspective of Gods Sovereignty involved in the affairs of mankind both in past history and in future events.
Prayer – I think we underestimate the place of prayer in shaping the future. I see Gods partnership with humanity in prayer and His willingness to at times limit himself to our intercession or lack of. Prayer brings us into the mind and heart of Gods intentions for us and is the key communication tool in our relationship with God.
Obedience – 1 Samuel 15 gives us a classic insight into the importance of obedience from Gods perspective. I don’t think it’s what you do that ultimately matters but what you do out of what God has revealed to you to do. My own future has been shaped more so by hearing and obeying God than anything I’ve attempted in my own flesh.
Relationships – Life is a matrix of relationships and the people we are connected to shape so much of our personal future’s. Who you relate to and connect with speak volumes about you as a person and what’s important to you. Ultimately, our relationship with God or lack of is the critical piece of the relational puzzle that must be firmly fixed in the centre of our lives, for anything of significance to be positively shaped in our lives.
Prophecy – Prophecy is Gods revelation of the intention of his heart and mind for people, churches and nations. Each prophetic word from God is pregnant with possibility and must be kissed by a heart of faith for Gods intention to manifest in our reality. Prophecy can warn us of impending events sent to derail us. Prophecy can lift our vision and set our hearts soaring with faith in the midst of a valley experience. Prophecy needs to be tested, understood, interpreted and applied with wisdom for it to be useful in our lives, otherwise, we get defiled by it or lose the potential of it in our lives.
These are some of the key factors that shape our future more than most things. Can you add to the list? What would you say has been key for you in the shaping of your future? Dialogue welcomed.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ‘For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.’
There are two dimensions of time that God has appointed – Chronos and Kairos.
Chronos time is measured by the ticking of the clock and the turning of the calendar. chronos time is based on the motion of the rotation of the earth around the sun. Kairos time is that God appointed moment when an opportunity appears before you and you seize it and as a result a breakthrough in your life occurs.
When a space shuttle returns to earth, there are windows of opportunity that they must wait for and ultimately seize if they are going to return into the earths orbit.
Fulfilling your calling isn’t determined by simply living in chronos time but by your insight into the kairos moments that God brings your way. If all you’re doing is waiting for hours, days, weeks and months to pass by before something happens, you may miss the kairos signposts God is trying to give you. Start looking at your life from a kairos perspective. If you do you will be much more prepared for the kairos moments God is leading you to and momentum will result.
When young David went to the battlefield (1 Sam 17) to deliver food to his brothers, he didn’t realise that he was about to find himself in a kairos moment where everything in his life would change. He seized it and as a result, his calling came into high definition. Kairos opportunities can be cloaked in giant challenges but nevertheless be Gods invitation to you to step onto the stage of your calling.
Several times the words, see and perceive appear in Ecclesiastes 3. I’ve observed that Gods kairos becomes discernible when we look and listen to God and his signposts in our lives. Gods speaking a lot of the time but unfortunately we aren’t always looking or listening.
Are you looking and listening to God and for his kairos time in your life? Discern it, seize it and breakthrough!
Henry Taylor once said, “We are what and where we are, because we have first imagined it. Imagination lit every lamp, built every church, made every discovery, performed every act of progress and created better things for people. Imagination is the priceless ingredient for a better day.”
Everyone of us ends up somewhere but few of us end up somewhere on purpose.Unfortunately, too many of us aim far too low, end up hitting the target and wonder why life feels empty. Living life and conducting ministry with Godly vision is critical to our survival (Prov 29:18) and without vision for our future, we will keep repeating our past.
There were 4 characters in the bible (Abraham Gen 11; Joseph Gen 37; Moses Exodus 3; Peter Acts 10) who received Godly vision for their lives. What I’ve learnt about vision from their stories is:
- Godly vision flows out of a God-encounter – It’s not a childhood dream or fantasy…
- Godly vision establishes a new reality in our future – Vision acted upon will change your life…
- Godly vision is a revelation of what God wants to do on the earth – Keep God’s big picture in mind, not just you…
Vision is a clear and compelling God-given picture of the future. In Jesus life and ministry, vision played an important role. Vision gave Jesus focus when distractions hounded him to surrender his calling. Vision helped Jesus endure the shame of the cross. Vision inflamed Jesus heart with passion and gave us a picture of what is important in God’s house.
God’s got a unique journey for you and a unique vision for your journey. Maybe it’s time you got an upgrade on your vision and you need to seek God and ask him to download a fresh supply of vision into your heart and mind.
When one starts walking with God, we quickly learn two things about him.
First, he is utterly consistent in his love and nature toward us. Second, He is completely unpredictable. This paradox, two seemingly conflicting ideas contained in the same truth, is at the core of who God is. God loves to do things unpredictably. Gods unpredictability means we have no security in what God is doing. We can only be secure in who he is. Our mission as Christians is learn how to live in Christ and let that be the bedrock for our life. God will ask each of us, at some point or another, to do things that are outrageous, impossible and unpredictable. Unless we live in the consistent nature of God, we will never step out in faith.
One of the parts of Gods nature we must come to understand is that God is usually silent. This silence doesn’t mean disapproval. In fact, when God is quiet, it is generally an indication that he is happy with us. He doesn’t need to constantly reassure His mature sons and daughters when they are doing well. He just lets us be until we look like we are heading off track. It is incorrect to think that God is continuously revealing his will to us. However, he does carry the responsibility of putting us back on the rails when we slip off. We can trust him to steer us back if we are headed in the wrong direction.
The key element in determining the will of God is always confidence. The Father does what is always right, and he is amazing in his consistency and faithfulness. He always finishes what he starts and we can absolutely trust that he will complete his purpose in us. Holding onto our confidence is a major part of being mentored by the God of paradox. Mentors provide assurance and our personal security is built upon our own understanding of who God is for us. Assurance in God allows us to become like him. As we abide in him, our confidence grows in us to fulfill what God has called us to do.
Radical faith is developed by waiting on God… Waiting on God literally means to wait on him.
Waiting on God isn’t about just waiting on him for guidance or direction but waiting on him to cultivate our relationship with him. It’s out of a right relationship with God that guidance will flow. Waiting is a relational activity.
If we don’t plan to worship, we wont do it. If we don’t set aside time to sit in the presence of God, we’ll never get around to it. We’re so busy working through the issues of everyday life that we have completely forgotten how to interact with the very source of it all. This is the currency that our lives run on. Time is precious and to spend time with someone shows them how much we love them.
Waiting on God cultivates anticipation in our hearts for what God is going to do next in our lives. It’s not our job to seek God’s will. It’s our joy to seek his face. Relationship is the key to out working all that is in God’s heart for our lives both in the present and in the future.
Psalm 37:34 says, “Wait for the Lord and keep his way and he will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.”
We don’t have to worry about our future, destiny or identity because God has got all of that covered. All of these things are simply added to us while we bask in his presence. The plans he has for us unfold in his heart. Once we ensure that we are in his presence and ready to receive them, they will surely flow to us. We may stumble at times but God holds our hand. Relationship belongs to us, but guidance is His alone.
There is a need for me to redefine the term ‘Calling’ because it’s too easy to go to a default position of what calling is in our minds. One of the reasons for this is the wide variety of terms I hear authors and speakers use on the subject. Terms like mandate, mission, purpose, vision and assignment all mean different things and yet can be used to mean the one thing = Calling.
Secondly, some of the ideas we associate with calling can be unhelpful. Ideas like vocation, career and profession don’t adequately define what calling is. Biblically the idea of calling is defined as the following:
“A strong inner impulse toward a specific course of action, accompanied by a conviction of divine influence.”
From a big picture perspective I think calling transcends career and occupation. A career has a start date and an end date but a calling doesn’t, it’s life long and can be expressed uniquely in different seasons.
I think the most important element of a calling is an inner witness of the Spirit. This is why it takes real discernment to learn how to hear the voice of the Spirit of God. God speaks in multiple ways – scriptures, prophecy, words of knowledge, dreams and visions and circumstances. Confirming the divine element of calling is important because man can lay hands on you and confer credentials upon you but only God can supply the inner witness of the Spirit that is needed to sustain one’s call.
Calling is a summons to action. It’s not passive. Calling is expressed in multiple arena’s of life, not just on a platform. Calling is multi-faceted and as one theologian said, “You could summarize all of God’s work from Genesis to Revelation as Calling!”