calling

All posts tagged calling

The Gracious Hand of God

Published July 12, 2017 by Dawn

“And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests” (Neh. 2:8).

God has used this verse to put some wind back into my very deflated sails this week. I’ve been living with a very big disconnect in my faith. You see, I have great faith in God. I believe His word is true, from cover to cover. I believe He is the same today as He was in olden times. I believe He has done great things, making all things from nothing and other such miraculous things. I don’t question His ability. I do, however, question mine.

When the Lord spoke specifically of His will in my life, I was immediately ecstatic. I was Isaiah, hand waving violently in the air, “Here I am! Send me!” I have willingly submitted myself to studying scripture hard-core, knowing that God’s call is directly tied to His Word. In short, I was ready to be used, willing to be prepared, but sadly … unwilling to really believe God could do what He wanted to do through me. You see, I know my flaws. I know my sin. I know my SELF, and she’s not very talented, smart, capable, likable … the list goes on and on. Everything I thought God needed me to be to accomplish His will just isn’t in me naturally. Naturally, I’m a mess. Don’t try to console me … I don’t need it. Why?

Because the gracious hand of my God is upon me.

Oh goodness. This verse. So powerful. So empowering. You see, I have faith in God. Not in myself, but finally, I can see that faith in me is not necessary. I just need to recognize that God’s hand is on me. God can take this foolish mess that I am and do something that I could never do on my own. Because God can do anything. With His hand on me, so can I.

“With God, all things are possible” (Matt 19:26). Do you know how many times I read this verse, but apparently just now am able to believe it? Something clicked. The Lord kept bringing Nehemiah 2:8 to me over and over this past week, and suddenly, this verse is REAL. I know my God can do all things. I know without Him I can do nothing. But suddenly, I KNOW that with His hand on me, all things – every dream, vision, heart-cry He encourages – are possible.

I am going to try again. I am going to pick up my bruised ego (and throw it away) and go back to being about my Father’s business, trusting in Him. Knowing that succeeding at His Will is ultimately about my connection to the Vine. I simply have to stay connected. Stop being distracted. Stop allowing Satan to taunt me with fear and lies. Acknowledge my deficits while also acknowledging His infinite wisdom and ability. I just have to be an empty vessel willing to be picked up by my Father and filled to overflowing. However it comes out is however it comes out because the gracious hand of my God is upon me.

I hope you know, though, that although this blog is a little me-centered (it’s my pep-talk), it’s about all of His children who are holding on to a dream. You might be tight-fisted with a bleeding heart right now, desperately wondering how you are going to do what God is asking you to do. Let me help you relax, dear friend: you may not be able to say, “I’ve got this!” but God is! He just needs you to be willing and obedient. If you have turned your back on those promises because they have exasperated you for so long and you can’t stand to look at an unfulfilled Word, I just want to encourage you. It’s not by your might, or your power. It’s by His Spirit. Reconnect, because God still wants to use you! Don’t lose heart anymore, church. The gracious hand of our God is upon us!

Intimacy and Companionship in the Desert

Published April 28, 2016 by Dawn

Moses stood outside his tent rubbing his tired eyes. The sun would soon be up, and families would soon crawl out of their tents and stretch out across the hot sand, picking up their daily portion of manna. This moment held the last bit of peace he might experience until well after sunset.

He looked back into the tent, smiling at the sight of his wife curled up, sleeping peacefully next to his smallest son. His family was such a blessing. A blessing he missed terribly as of late. The demands of the people started early and lasted into the night. Oh God, what have you done to me?

Moses walked toward the outskirts of the camp. Down below the last row of family dwellings and the tethered cattle, there stood a lonely tent. The Tent of Meetings. His heart wrenched at the sight of it. He was on fire, alive with a sudden passion. Yahweh was there, waiting for him. Only, as much as he wanted to go, there was a terrible chasm open between them. God had asked for a sacrifice Moses was struggling to give. His peace, his time, the vision and hope for a quiet life amidst his own livestock. A panoramic view outside his family dwelling, with rolling hills on every side and very few neighbors. With all of that desire in his heart, he was given a crowded camp of angry, miserable people who looked to him for every answer, fretted at every turn and expected Moses to work miracles. He felt the demand of a million people suffocating him, and all he ever dreamed about was space to breath. God had given him mysterious, wispy bread to eat instead of an overflowing table. Everyday, Moses returned in his heart to Egypt’s dining hall, where the daily portion was more than a man could handle on his own. And then he silently pleaded with God for forgiveness and contentment in his portion.

His portion. Not just the manna, but the desert. The heat. The restlessness. The grumbling. The burden of leading a reluctant group of people. The daily disturbances to his inner peace and resilient efforts to honor God. It was more than he could bear. Standing there, looking down at that tent with a longing so fierce, Moses trembled. He needed to be there. He was being drawn, but heavily dragging his feet.

The dirt was hardly unsettled as he slowly moved in the direction of the Tent of Meetings. The Pillar of Cloud was drifting simultaneously in the same direction. Soon, they would converge at the doorway and go in together, Moses and his God. Moses could feel the burden lifting and then settling down on him again, like a tethered balloon unable to drift away. His mind scurried between thoughts, trying to find a good beginning. How does a man bring his uncertainties before the Almighty? How can he remain steadfast and confident in his Father’s love, knowing that he doubts and disagrees with all that Yahweh is doing?

Tears began spilling over each other, racing down his face and into his unkempt beard. Weeks of worry and toil had grown that beard which now became the hiding place for all of Moses’ sorrowful tears. How would God respond to his vulnerable weaknesses?

Oh Father, forgive me.

The weight instantly lifted at the opening to the tent as Moses walked through the dense fog that enveloped his King. He smiled at the pleasure of immediate freedom in that moment. Sweet relief!

Trembling with a mixture of fear and intense satisfaction, Moses lowered himself to his knees and lifted his hands in worship. Oh my God, you are so good. You are my heart’s desire and I long for you. Your purposes are beyond understanding, and yet I trust you implicitly. Lead me in your way. I love you.

“Moses.”

The voice was a gentle thunder. It was melodic and terrifying all at once. Moses shivered. He is here. Hallelujah!

“Moses, your heart is heavy, my son.”

“My Lord … nothing is beyond you. You know me inside and out. How can I hide this burden of my heart from you? Listen to me  -“

A patience hung in the air. Like God was hanging on every word spoken from this fragile jar of clay. “I’m listening.”

“My God, what have you done to me? Surely you have given me more than I can bear. You have made my load too heavy for me, and I have tried in vain to carry it. Isn’t there someone else, Lord?

Moses was suddenly terrified at the memory of this conversation. He’d asked similar things before and angered the Lord. How would God respond to this persistent doubt?

“I have not made a mistake, my son. Whom I call, I will equip. You can do all things through me. I have given you all power and authority to succeed in bringing my chosen people into their promised land. You can and you will.”

Moses shook his head violently. I can’t. He doesn’t understand!

“Please God, this isn’t for me. Isn’t there someone else?”

“No.”

Moses cradled his head in his hands and wept bitterly. His heart was thrilled. He was inwardly certain of his calling, and feeling more alive than ever at the assurance God had spoken. But still very scared and wary. How can I ever lead these people alone?

“Who will you send with me, Lord?”

The guilt washed over him as soon as the question left his lips. He clearly envisioned the people God had already placed in his life – his brother, sister, wife and sons – and recognized that he did not believe in their callings or abilities. He was still looking for someone to come and relieve him.

Moses half expected the cloud to become thicker and choke him to death. He certainly deserved it. The patience of God in that moment surprised him. Just another unexpected facet of a God he hardly knew, although they talked face to face daily.

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Once again, peace fell upon him as the words settled into his spirit. God, my God, is an all-consuming fire. An ever present help in time of need. A mighty fortress. I can trust him.

“Moses …”

“Yes, Lord?”

“My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

 

*****

This is a recreation of scripture in Exodus 33 that the Lord has been speaking to me lately. I took the narrative back to a pertinent part of information that I think is critical to the intimate relationship Moses had with the Lord. Exodus 33:11 says, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” Face to face … how amazingly wonderful.

One thing I noticed in reading these scriptures is that the Tent of Meetings was outside the camp. Away from the hustle and bustle, away from life’s demands and all the people in his life who were either hindering or helping him … Moses had to turn his attention momentarily away from even his calling so he could give his undivided attention to God. But in that turning, Moses was able to speak to God and hear him in a way that most people never would. He came face to face with the Lord Almighty.

In such an intimate setting, with the Lord just as captivated as he was, Moses felt the freedom to bare his soul. His doubts and fears came, unwilling to be suppressed, and when presented to God, were not dismissed. They were heard. They were addressed. They were answered. Maybe not in the way Moses wanted them to be answered. He expected God to send someone. A physical being. Those who surrounded him, for whatever reason, were not enough, and Moses expected that there must be someone else. You have been telling me to lead these people, but you have not let me know whom you will send with me” (Exodus 33:12).

I’m not sure if the Lord’s response met Moses’ dismay or deep satisfaction, but contrary to what he thought the answer was, God simply told him, “My Presence will be with you.”

Here’s my wonderings: Are we meeting God outside the camp? Are we turning our attentions away from our own self-interest, or life’s demands, or even those things we consider to be the perfect, pleasing Will of God … Are we turning our attention completely away from these things in our time with the Lord in order to hear Him, or are we distracted by them to the point that we aren’t sure we’ve ever heard Him? Do we have a Tent of Meetings that we go to that is far enough away from our everydayness that when we get with God, we know without a doubt we have heard His voice?

And then Moses’ question: is there something God is asking us to do alone? And even though we may be surrounded by family and friends, could it be that our calling is something God has set us apart to do? Something that cannot be accomplished with the help of those we are most intimate with, but God alone? Could He be responding, in answer to our desperate pleas for companionship, “My Presence will go with you”?  Is it possible that all that God has called us to do will be fulfilled within our partnership with Him? Could He be saying to us, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness?”

Finally, will we trust Him? Not “can we.” God has already shown himself faithful. Thousands of years of human history testify to the faithfulness of God, and because He does not change like shifting shadows, He is as faithful today to us as He was when he delivered the Israelites by parting the Red Sea. So many stories of His enduring love and trustworthiness can be found within the Bible, and in the testimonies of those we love. So will we trust Him? Will we trust Him to walk the hard road, and to be beside us as we stumble through darkness and treacherous landscape? Will we trust Him to carry us when we feel we cannot go on? Will we trust Him to fulfill His promises though life is slipping away and we remain humbly broken and seemingly incapable? My Presence will go with you.

Will you trust Him? Don’t sit at Egypt’s table because you are scared of the desert’s heat, or the long hours or the people God has called you to minister to. Don’t gorge yourself on the riches of this life because the bread of heaven seems monotonous or less spectacular. Don’t allow lesser things to keep you from the promised land because the earth and all its riches are passing away. Walk with your abba Daddy, no matter the cost because He is faithful to keep His promises. They are “yes” and “amen” in Christ Jesus.

Identity Crisis

Published October 30, 2012 by Dawn

Have you ever had an identity crisis? You aren’t really sure who you are, or who you should be? You act like one person when you are around people you want to impress, but you know deep down that that person is not you? Have you ever had to peel off your mask to get real with God in prayer? I humbly believe we all suffer from this sort of crisis at some point in our lives. I mean, come on, the teenage years happen to even the best of us. Many of us still struggle with who we are well into our adult lives. Isn’t it refreshing to know this isn’t just our own unique issue? What ‘s even more refreshing is knowing that people in the Bible that God used mightily sometimes suffered from the same thing.

The most important thing to remember about people in the bible is that they were just people. Just people, like you and me. And if they were just like you and me, they definitely had their share of problems, especially if they were like me! Take a look at Moses. Moses is the perfect example of someone having an identity crisis. He was doomed from birth. His Hebrew mother puts him in a basket and sends him down the river because the Egyptians were killing off all the baby boys. Pharaoh’s daughter finds him, allows him to be nursed for a few years by his real mother and then takes him home to the palace to grow up as an Egyptian. Moses was born a slave but raised as a prince. Obviously he knew all along he was a Hebrew, because Exodus 2:11 tells us that one day, he goes out to watch his “own people” work and gets angry when he sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. He gets so angry he kills the slave driver, and when Pharaoh finds out what happened, Moses has to flee for his life. Now, when he leaves Egypt, he goes to Midian, and even there, he can’t figure out exactly who he is. See, there’s some girls watering their sheep at a well, and these shepherds come along and start giving them grief. Moses comes to the rescue, waters their sheep and sends them home early. Their father asks why they came back so early and here it is, they say, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds.” Can’t you just see it? Moses trying to impress the ladies, making them believe he’s this heroic Egyptian prince. They’d never fall for him if they knew he was a Hebrew slave, right? If they knew he was a slave, they’d know he was poor with nothing to offer them. So he tells them he’s from royalty. So the bible says that Moses was gone from Egypt for forty years. So it’s highly probable that Moses struggled maintaining this façade for four long decades. Then, one day, he’s in the desert with his sheep and he sees this curious thing. A bush on fire, but it’s not burning up! He gets closer to check things out and the bush starts speaking to him. “Moses! Moses!” I’m sure he was just a little freaked out at this point, but he stammers, “Here I am.”

The greatest thing about this story is that no matter who Moses pretended to be, God knew just who he was. Even better than that, God loved him in spite of it all. Moses didn’t have to impress God. So, this is how Exodus 3 starts out, but if you skim down to verse 11, you will see that Moses eventually figured it all out. He also realized that who he was didn’t matter. Moses asks God “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh?” God’s response? “I will be with you.” All God asked Moses to do was be who he was and do what God asks. He didn’t have to make a big name for himself, he didn’t have to prove himself to God. He just had to know who he was in God, and know that God was going with him. Period. Moses, at some point in those forty years, figured out who he was, though because he declared “Here I am” when the bush started talking. If he hadn’t figured out who he really was, he would have been like, “Who? You talkin’ to me?” But that’s not what he said. He said, “Here I am!” Clearly, there is hope for those of us who don’t know who we are. It may take a while, and some one-on-one time with God, but we will eventually know who we are, as well as who we are in Christ.