Have you done the Work?

strength-trainingProverbs 14:23 ‘In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.’

Most of us have dreams for our lives, the issue is have we put in the work to see the dream realised. What separates the dreamers from the believers is the believers toil and toil and toil until they see their dreams come to reality. Faith apart from works is dead.

Talent counts for far less than the will to see the process through to completion. I’ve seen too many talented, anointed and gifted people throw away their gift because they were not willing to put in the work required to develop it to its fullest potential.

One of the challenges of ageing is you look back with regret at things you wish you had have seen through to completion. As you mature you learn that if you just had of stuck to your guns and kept turning up, you most probably would’ve realised your dream. However, it’s never too late. No matter your age or situation in life, you can do something about the dream beating in your heart.

It’s called WORK! Humans seem to do almost anything to get out of work and yet when God put Adam in the Garden in Genesis 1-2 he called him to work it and steward God’s creation. God’s called every one of us to a sphere to work in and steward for his glory and the extension of his kingdom. What’s your sphere and what are you doing within it?

Are you merely talking the talk or are you actually doing the work required to flourish in that environment? The world is filled with talkers, what we need to see is a generation of doers rise up and actually put in the hard yards. You can’t expect a harvest if you’ve never sowed any seeds. It’s time to stop talking and start working! Let your work do the talking when it really counts.

The Oracle!

Live in the Bullseye!

Don’t live on the periphery of what God has put you on the planet for. Live in the Bullseye. Too many of us settle for far too less than what God intended for us.

Imagine a blank A4 piece of paper folded a dozen or more times into a very small square and placed in your pocket. You carry it around with you day after day, year after year until finally you die. Imagine standing before Jesus and he has in his hand that little screwed up and folded up piece of A4 paper in his hand. Jesus then proceeds to unwrap the tiny A4 square piece of paper until it’s completely unfolded to a full piece of paper.

He looks at you in love and says to you, ‘You settled for this little square corner of life, when I called you to stretch, grow and live and contribute far more than you could have imagined.’ How do you think you might feel in that moment. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, ‘Oh Crap’.

The pain of regret is the worst pain of all. It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to pursue that dream. It’s never too late to say sorry or forgive or believe again. But you’ve got to make a decision to stop living on the periphery and start living in the bullseye of what God has really called you to.

The Oracle!

Gods Waiting Room!

Once upon a time there was a young man named Joseph… (Read Genesis 37-41 for context). Joseph was his fathers favourite son who made Joe a coat of many colours. His brothers despised him for his favour, even more so, when God gave Joseph two prophetic dreams of influence and power. They decided to throw him into a pit, sold him to Ishmaelite traders, who sold him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph while favoured by God was falsely accused of rape and sentenced to prison in Pharaohs jail. Two servants of Pharaoh were sent to prison for committing offences against the king and they both received two prophetic dreams, which Joseph interpreted by God’s gracious gifting in his life. Joseph was forgotten by the cupbearer whose prophetic dream saw him established back to his original position and Joe was left in prison for another two years.

Joseph was in God’s waiting room where you get prepared by God to fulfil your calling. Joseph is often characterised as a perfect individual but even he needed to be refined and prepared by God for his ultimate calling. All of us know what it’s like to wait in a waiting room. It can sometimes be very painful. Just as there are waiting rooms in the natural, so too are they in the spiritual and every persons waiting room is unique and looks different to anybody else’s. If we don’t recognise our waiting room, we will respond inappropriately to the season God has us in.

In God’s waiting room you watch other people’s dreams come to pass while yours is at a standstill. In God’s waiting room, you find it easier to interpret other people’s dreams, than you do your own. In God’s waiting room, no one who enters your life does so by accident. In God’s waiting room, you grope for mans attention rather than waiting for God’s timing. In God’s waiting room, you will want to complain about your hardships. In God’s waiting room, you will feel forgotten. In God’s waiting room, you are being prepared for your calling.

All of the above happened to Joseph and will most probably happen to you if you accept the invitation to the school of the Spirit = Gods waiting room. But the good news is that God will only keep you waiting in his room as long as is necessary to prepare you for what he has for you to walk in. Many are called but few are chosen. The few who get chosen to walk in a higher calling do so because they postured themselves for growth while in Gods waiting room. Will you accept the invitation?

Self-Discipline!

Proverbs 16:32 “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Self-discipline is a bridge that can take you from where you are to where you want to be. One of the things that characterizes our capacity as humans is our willingness to discipline ourselves for what is most important to us. What we really want to do, we do, even if it involves sacrifice and copious amounts of discipline.

No one got anywhere without disciplining themselves to focus their time and energy on the goal before them. Without a goal or a vision set before you, you’ll lack the motivation to discipline yourself but when you have a compelling reason to get up early, eat well, study and go the extra mile, discipline will come much easier.

Musicians discipline themselves to practice hours everyday. Athletes get up at 5am and prepare their bodies for the rigors of competition. Politicians log hundreds of hours in the office preparing for their election campaign. Pastors work tirelessly preparing sermons and discipling budding leaders to help grow the church. Mums invest hundreds of hours each week raising kids and building into their future. Why do we do the things that we do? Its because we see the goal before us and we think its worth disciplining ourselves for.

How much more should we be willing to lead ourselves when it comes to the call of God on our lives? God has given you a call because there’s a need in the earth, he has created you to meet. Your call has eternal ramifications. Whether or not you fulfill your call depends on your willingness to discipline yourself for it. What are the things you keep putting off that God has called you to do? What is the one thing right now in your life that if you disciplined yourself to do it, would add the most value to you? Keep the goal clear and discipline yourself to work towards it.

1 Corinthians 9:27 “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

Insight!

Despicable Me!

Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself.”

I encourage you to see the movie ‘Despicable Me’. Truth is, the only reason I watched it, is because I have three darling kids who wanted to see it. I expected a typical kids movie but what I got was an encounter with Jesus teaching played out on a movie reel.

The story line of the movie is about a man who grows up enjoying being very despicable. He’s a criminal mastermind whose ultimate dream is to steal the moon. For him to do so would mean he’s reached the pinnacle of significance. However, he encounters some stiff competition from someone keen to outdo him and so Mr Despicable encounters three orphans and decides to use them to gain advantage over his competition. Along the journey these three little orphans steal his heart and he starts to soften and prioritize them over his dream of stealing the moon. In fact Mr Despicable gets more than he ever dreamed, he gets a life where he can share love and receive love and his life is never the same. See the movie to fill in the rest of the details.

I think this is a great metaphor for life and ministry. It’s great to have a dream but too easily do we make the pursuit of that dream, call, ministry or life (however you define it) about US. The dream or call may be honorable in and of itself but the subtle shift in our hearts towards ourselves (our success, our image, our reputation, our desires, our needs) can actually be fatal both for us and the dream, let alone others.

As long as your call is about you, you’ve missed the point. In fact, no matter how much energy you expend into making your call happen, the reverse can take effect and it actually starts slipping away from you because you’re misusing the call for the purpose it was given to you in the first place, others.

If you will direct the focus of your call away from you and onto others, your desires and dreams will most probably take care of themselves, or in the case of “Mr Despicable”, your desires will be replaced with God’s desires that are far better for you anyway. Let go, and let God take control of your life. Whether you do or not is a matter of trust. Do you actually trust that God, who called you in the first place, is more than capable of holding your call for you, as well as your dreams and desires?

I encourage you to get on with the business of living for God and living for others without worrying about yourself. Pour yourself out for others and God’s blessing will follow you all the days of your life. The Spirit of the Lord was on Jesus for his ministry to others, not on him ‘just because’. There was a purpose and reason for the anointing being given to him = to heal the broken-hearted, preach good news to the poor, open eyes that are blind and proclaim the year of God’s favor.

The sad truth is you could achieve your dream and ‘steal the moon’ and feel very significant… for a moment… but deep in your heart feel the gnawing ache of emptiness because you have actually forfeited your soul, making your life all about you. Do something weird for a change, actually take Jesus’ words seriously and live by them. I’m trying to and its making all the difference.

Insight!