Defining moments

Ok – I’m going to need some amen’s here.

God is all seeing. God is all present. God is all knowing. God is everywhere.

God has always been. He is now. And He always will be.

There is nothing that can be hidden from the Lord.

God orders my steps. God orders your steps.

In Him we move, we live and we have our being….

Being = existence, purpose, experience of life.

When God chose David, he chose him as a boy but he saw him as a King. When God gave Hannah Samuel, He gave him as a son, but called him as a Prophet. When God called Joshua and Caleb, he started them as scouts, but He made them to be warriors. When God called Joseph, He was rejected but God made Him powerful.

What makes these men amazing? Their start in their life? Their end in life? No – that God called them to for His purpose and His purposes alone.

But, if David had listened to Saul and his army or even Goliath, I would venture he wouldn’t have become King. If Hannah had accepted her plight in life as being barren, then she would never have prayed a prayer for fertility. If Joshua and Caleb had seen the giants in their scouting expedition more than they saw God, Israel would never have crossed over. And if Joseph had accepted rejection by his brothers and being jailed unjustly, he never would have been made senior advisor to Pharaoh.

In all of these examples, God took the faith of each man to overcome the enemy. God saw each man, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient – he knew everything about these men. He saw them and he called them. Whe he spoke to each man, they were in their most challenging place emotionally – Gideon was hiding in a wine press, hiding from the enemy; Moses had run away from all that he was because he murdered a man, David was was a man who was an adulterer, Peter was a man who put his foot in his mouth countless times! And yet, God chose them to turn their worlds upside down.

This year, I don’t care if you have had or are going to have trials or tribulations, if you are knocked down, pressed down, thrown into the fire like Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-nego, or thrown into a well like Joseph was thrown into one like his brothers. In the most unlikeliest of locations, God calls us into greatness. God delivers us, takes us out of the wells, takes us from the battles we face in our lives, and he makes them the very stepping ground for victorious living. David became king, Joseph became the administrator of all of Pharaoh’s kingdom, Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-Nego lived in favour in their land, Peter preached the word, full of the Spirit, and thousands came to salvation in that one moment, Joshua and Caleb led the people into a land of promise, of giant slaying and great signs.

And yet, each of these men had qualities and character that led them into a lifestyle of victory – attitudes that God saw within them even when they were in their darkest hours. I would like to suggest to you that these were qualities that God honours in each of us:

  1. Embrace the promise
  2. Be quick to repent
  3. Discipline yourself
  4. Live in a holy dissatisfaction of anything less that the best you
  5. Have faith in the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God

You were formed in your mother’s womb with God’s eternity planted in your heart. He has plans and purposes for you – plans to raise you up, give you a hope and a future. His destiny is not to destroy you or bring you down. So, if you are down, are feeling slighted or knocked around, just know that God’s still delivering you into your purposes. And perhaps your purpose right now is to hold fast to him, just like Daniel did in the lion’s den, as David did in the cave, as Joseph did in prison. In their very darkest hours, God delivered them. God’s best for you is nothing short of deliverance into purpose.

In the eye of the beholder

The fear of success can be a struggle as real as the fear of failure.

Take me, for instance. In writing, with the intent to publish, I am effectively throwing out my ideas and thoughts to not only those that know me but those who have no idea who I am.

So, what if my writing funds great success. What if my writings reach more than a few hundred people who know me and love me and are willing to humour my musings.

What if it reaches thousands and friends refer it to friends? And what if those people come to my church and meet me and listen to me. This is where the fear of success comes in:

What if people don’t like the real me? What if they think I was actually disingenuous in my writings after they see the real me? Would they want their money back? Would they write reports of how I’m not actually the person I purported to be?

My fear is that people will think I’m a poser, an imposter, and won’t like the “real” me. What if they think I’m not worth all the hullaballoo?

But do you know what God’s response is to me? Love yourself. How about you take the perspective that you are made worthy by me of the success? How can you hope to love others through your writing if you can’t live yourself.

And so I write. To not is to no one’s benefit. But to write means I believe that old saying that “God don’t make no junk.”

Above Reproach


above (or beyond) reproach

Such that no criticism can be made; perfect: his integrity is beyond reproach
In the circles I travel in, this phrase “Above Reproach” is often referred to when discussing propriety in pastoral care. It references the fine line between getting yourself into a situation where others may question, or perhaps even accuse you of unethical or immoral behaviour.
But I am finding I want to concern myself less with what I should be avoiding in favour of what I should be pursuing. If I am always concerned about being above reproach in my relationships and my thought-life, then I am focusing on what could potentially go wrong or what appearance I might have, and it might paralyze me from taking action.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for being appropriate and above board – but rather than worrying if I’m escaping the fires of hell licking my heels, I’d rather be reaching forward to the pursuit of being the best person I can be with the talents and skills God has given me.
How much more fulfilling is it to fill my thoughts with the what if’s of success than the what if’s of failure. One perspective has me continually looking over my shoulder for my accusers, whilst the other has me pressing forward looking for fellow pursuers of excellence.
What if we changed Above Reproach from being a negative to a positive. What if being above reproach was an exciting dynamic of “Look over here, world – God’s doing something amazing. You’ll want to see this!” rather than “Don’t look my way in case I’ve crossed a boundary I shouldn’t have crossed.
Keeping your eye on the pursuit of excellence is a pursuit worthy of my time.

Excellence reveals

Good human work honors God’s work. Good work uses no thing without respect, both for what it is in itself and for its origin. It uses neither tool nor material that it does not respect and that it does not love. It honors nature as a great mystery and power, as an indispensable teacher, and as the inescapable judge of all work of human hands. It does not dissociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work, or usefulness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for. This is blasphemy: to make shoddy work of the work of God. But such blasphemy is not possible when the entire Creation is understood as holy and when the works of God are understood as embodying and thus revealing His spirit. (pg. 312, Christianity and the Survival of Creation)

― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays