Competent, Contagious, and Courageous

When’s the last time you have felt truly competent in something — be it work, ministry, sports, your hobby or pastime?

Competent is defined as:  having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc., for some purpose; properly qualified (dictionary.com)

When’s the last time you didn’t attempt something because you felt incompetent (aka not competent; lacking qualification or ability; incapable — dictionary.com)

Most of the world lives by categorizing what they’ll do by what they feel competent at and then avoiding what they won’t do based on what they don’t feel competent at.

Is that the way Father has instructed His children through the ages?

  • Moses didn’t feel competent as a public speaker, yet Father called him to be a spokesperson to Pharaoh for the Israelites.
  • Jacob deceived his brother Esau and cheated him out of both his birthright and blessing, and yet Father made him the father of the 12 tribes of Israel (Gen 35:10).
  • Mary was a no-name teenage girl from an ordinary, low-income family; yet Father made her the mother of Jesus.
  • Rahab was a prostitute who helped protect the spies Joshua sent to scope out Jericho (Joshua 6), was saved when the city of Jericho perished, and was counted in the lineage of Jesus (Matt 1:5)
  • Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites, and yet Father sent an angel to him who announced, “When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12)  He went forth and led an army of 300 in slaying the Midianites.

I could go on about Jeremiah, Daniel, Jonah and others who didn’t feel qualified or competent to carry out the tasks Father entrusted them.

For that matter, anyone living a life sold out to Christ could come up with a list of experiences and situations that they have been a part of where they didn’t feel qualified or competent to carry out those tasks.

In those moments, we have the choice to back away or to embrace the true source of our competency.

2 Corinthians 3:5

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Choosing His competency through us is the moment we become contagious and courageous to the world around us.

For it is in that moment that we are showcasing the freeing reality that “this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Cor 4:7)

Take a moment and watch this clip by Igniter Media, The March Of the Unqualified.

 

 

Obey or Disobey

When is the last time, you vividly chose between obeying or disobeying?

In choosing, what were the blessings or the consequences of your choice?

Pastor Steven Furtick, author of Sun Stand Still, does an excellent job detailing the consequences of our disobedience in his post, “A 13:13 Moment.”

“You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if only you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.”
1 Samuel 13:13

It’s a moment you never want to have.
A 13:13 moment.
The moment you realize just what you could have had, if only you had…

In the ministry of prophetic intercession Father has given me (Heb 7:25, Job 16:20-21, Ro 8:34), I am amazed again and again at the attitude that 13:13 moments are things of biblical past or only applicable to the commands of Scripture.

Father still speaks prophetic words over His Beloved children’s lives; the Holy Spirit still confirms those words to our spirits and hearts (1 Thess 5:19-21, Is 50:4-5, Is 30:21); and Jesus still requires obedience to what He has clearly confirmed as being of Him (Num 23:19, Is 48:17).

I once wrote this response to a pastor, also a dear friend, who was grappling with this aspect of my prophetic intercession:

Why does Father show me, have me intercede over, and sometimes involve me in the possible outcomes of people’s life choices when He sovereignly knows that they’re not going to choose that  step of obedience and thus that outcome.

In pondering this question, Father brought to mind the examples of Esau, Jonah, King Saul, the Israelites, Judas Iscariot, Ananias & Sapphira.  Each one experienced Father laying before them an outcome they sadly didn’t choose . . . and so they missed out on Father’s best.

Each disciple of Christ has the same choice . . . and for some reason Father sometimes uses His prophetic intercessors to lay out the choice at hand and intercede over the choice of obedience for long durations of time .  . . when He knows, in the end, they won’t choose it.

Obey or Disobey?

Blessings or Consequences?

 

One Thing

Can you recall the last time you had “vegetable head?” In my world the condition of “vegetable head” occurs when you are so beyond exhausted — mentally, emotionally, physically, and sometimes spiritually.

I had the privilege of serving on staff with a children’s ministry for almost 5 years. My primary responsibility was with our 5th/6th grade youth group. “Vegetable head” usually set in when I would be cleaning up from one of our service project nights — which entailed an extreme amount of set-up and then a lengthy clean-up.

When I get to the point of “vegetable head,” I like repetitive inspiration . . . aka a song playing on repeat as I work. The song I would often choose to listen to countless times was Pour Out by Shawn McDonald

The line, “You are all I need” would always strike me in those episodes of “vegetable head” which are normal parts of life and ministry in a life sold out to Christ.

In those times, we find:

He is all we need

As we pour out in service to others, He pours back into us

We desire one thing . . .

Psalm 27:4
One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

Hope Does Not Disappoint

 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)

I once read or heard the phrase, “We are strangers on earth, longing for home.”

The longer I live; the more my heart resonates with that longing.

A verse that brings great comfort to my heart is Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

What an amazing experience that will be!

My husband took this picture of me while we were visiting our friends’ newly purchased home.  I was in awe of the amazingly tall trees that towered over their  house — it almost seemed like a treehouse.

Life has many Kodak moments that make us smile and take our breath away. Life also has those crushing moments that cut, bruise, and knock the wind out of us.

In those crushing moments we set the eyes of our souls on what is ahead . . . beautifully portrayed in Jeremy Camp’s song, “There Will Be A Day.”

Two verses that continue to take my breath away when I truly focus on what they mean:

“O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do?” Deuteronomy 3:24 (NLT) (emphasis mine)

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. . . .” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

His hope does not disappoint us.

His strength will not fail us.

His surprises for our lives tower high above what our human eyes can see.

For He is our loving Father, our faithful Provider, and our great and mighty King.

Hard Pressed But Not Crushed

Given the choice between a can with dents or a can without dents; which would you choose?

Sometimes I opt for the can with dents, knowing that it will be more difficult for the store to sell it.  In the food business, dents in cans often equal profit loss.  Yet in the Christian walk, dents are inevitable and even trademarks of a life sold out to Christ.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor 4:7-9

I have walked with Christ for close to 36 years starting with 8 years as a missionary kid living in Asia.  I’ve lived almost 4 decades sold out to Christ with the many dents that come with such living and the countless blessings that come with unthrottled, passionate following of Christ.

Of the past 35 years, I would say this past year has been one of the most dent-full of any of those years combined.  I and my husband-to-be have been “hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down” over and over again.

Attacks on every side and in almost every form have come our way like tsunami waves of health and financial trials, hatred, grief, abandonment, betrayal, mocking, verbal attacks, and cold, aloof stares from once close friends.  At moments the waves have crushed our heads into the sand as if we were flimsy rubber bands.  Our chests have heaved time and again with the weight of getting back up from the quick succession of the attack waves.

And yet, God remains faithful in sustaining our strength, our faith, and our joy.  We have found victory when our focus is on the blessings that are inevitable based on the truth found in Romans 8:28.

The song, Blessings, by Laura Story powerfully portrays this truth.

Do you find yourself being hammered by the surf of testing trials today? My prayer for you is that 1 Peter 5:8-9 would be true of your time of testing.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

For your victory lies within the focus of your heart and mind’s focus:

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

 

Don’t Be Afraid – Just Believe

Don't Be Afraid
“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Jairus’ daughter had died while Jesus was en route to heal her.  Men came and told Jairus, “Your daughter is dead. . . Why bother the teacher any more?”

Jesus was not swayed at all. Rather, He told Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43)

In our walk of faith, we will be faced again and again with Jesus’ challenge, exhortation, and words of amazing comfort: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

The last thing we want to do in the face of death is to be brash and unfeeling.  And yet in that very moment Jesus ignored what Jairus’ friends said and brashly reassured him,  “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

As we read this account, we don’t find Jesus’ words brash for we know the end of the story . . . he raises Jairus’ daughter to life.

Yet, how many times in our lives do we choose to be afraid rather than to believe? We don’t have the end of the story in printed form and yet we follow a God who

  • Is not man that He should lie nor son of man that He should change His mind.  Does He speak and the not act?  Does He promise and then not fulfill? – Numbers 23:19
  • Promises, “What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” – Isaiah 46:11
  • Promises, “In My Father’s house are may rooms; if it were not so I would have told you.” – John 14:2

What is it that you have been praying and believing God for that you have grown weary in your faith, lackadaisical in persisting in prayer, wishy- washy in believing that He will bring it to pass.

Do not let your present circumstances, situations, and input from family and friends cause you to be “. . .like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” – James 1:6

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Photo on Flickr by freefotouk

 

 

 

Kids: They’re Already Ready

Are we empowering our kids as mighty servants and ministers of the King now or is that a future thing?

I grew up as a missionary kid in Indonesia.  As a young child, my parents taught me to serve, to minister to those around me, and I was thrust into the crosshairs of intense spiritual warfare.

I have worked in KidMin in various capacities throughout the U.S. and the world (volunteer, Christian school teacher, and vocation) for the past twenty years.  Through these experiences, I have become thoroughly convinced that “they’re already ready” – to serve, to minister, to engage in spiritual warfare, and to set an example for the believers (1 Tim. 4:12).

Ready to Serve

Serving in our church children’s ministry for 4 1/2 years, I provided the staff support for our 5th and 6th Grade ministry – a service-based pre-youth group experience based on Acts 1:8.  Our students had opportunities to serve in our children’s ministry, our church, our city, and through Operation Christmas Child and Kids Against Hunger.

Again and again, these 5th and 6th Graders rose to the challenge – serving with joy, purpose, and maturity.  Over and over I saw their hunger to make a real difference in their world, so much so that they inspired the adults who served as their small group leaders.

Our kids are Already Ready to serve.

Ready to Minister

I taught 3rd Grade at a Christian school this year.  One of my student’s father was diagnosed with a fast-acting cancer.  Over the year as she would share updates with us, I saw my class of eight and nine year olds effectively minister to her and to each other.

As we discussed the realities of life, death, suffering, and God’s answers to our prayers; I saw my students process, understand, and apply the concepts we conversed about.  I saw them minister with compassionate honesty, genuine comfort, and biblical wisdom & maturity. Time and again during our Bible time, they would gather around, placing their hands on her, ready to comfort and intercede for her.

Our kids are Already Ready to minister.

Ready to Engage in Spiritual Warfare

For two years, I led a week long children’s ministry outreach in conjunction with a ministry my church partners with in Asia.  Having grown up in Indonesia, I know firsthand the level of spiritual warfare these children are already dealing with in their youth.

During one outreach, I shared the testimony of my experience with spirtual warfare and oppression with this group of children whose ages spanned from two to fifteen years old.  I will always remember the look of understanding and connection I saw in their eyes.

Children worldwide are dealing with spiritual warfare and are in dire need of knowing the principles of how to effectively deal with spiritual warfare.

Our kids are Already Ready to engage in spiritual warfare.

Ready to Set an Example

In every setting I have engaged in KidMin – camps, Christian schools, churches, mission trips – I have seen kids who are ready to set an example for the believers (1 Tim. 4:12).  They only need to be esteemed, empowered, and equipped to do so.

They’re Already Ready . . .

What are we doing to enable them to soar?

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