Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lord, Exactly What Do You Want From Me?

When the Lord reminded me of His call on my life a couple of Sunday's ago, it was also a wake-up alarm. God didn't choose us, rescue us, change us to simply be pew-potatoes, or secret-service-saints. Each of us are asked to step into a calling. The bottom line of the calling is the same for us all; how it's lived out looks different for each of us.

We are all called to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). We were all loved enough to be created to bring Him glory (Isaiah 43:7). His hearts desire is that we become representatives of the Son in our backyards, our communities, our counties, our countries (2 Cor 5:20). Yet, how we do that looks different for each of us. We have different gifts, hold different jobs, connect with people at different levels. I am to be a witness... But, the next question is: Lord, what exactly do you want from me? In other words, what does that really mean?

I began to look more deeply. When Jesus spoke the word witness, his disciples heard the word martys (Greek-English transliteration). What they heard was Jesus saying to them, " will be my martyrs." Something is seriously lost in our translation of Acts 1:8. This was an invitation to death. In order to speak the truth about Jesus, His followers always knew they were being given an opportunity to die.

A few days ago, I read an article from Voice of the Martyrs following an interview with many of the family members of the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded on video by ISIS. One young widow commented, "if they want all three of our kids, it isn't too much to give for Christ." The mother of another martyred believer proudly declared, "His dying for the faith is a blessing we don't deserve." These know what it means to truly count the cost.
These understand the call to be a witness.

Obviously, we can't do this without the first ten words of Acts 1:8, "When the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon you..." That is the very same power that resides in us from the moment of our re-birth. We can live out our witness, because the Spirit lives in us. He is greater than any fear.

So, this wake up alarm was a reminder to me, maybe a reminder to you, that what the Lord expects of His disciples is this: God wants more Isaacs. Isaacs who are:
Energetic enough to climb the mountain.
Strong enough to build our own altar and carry our own wood.
Smart enough to know that we are the sacrifice.
Willing enough to climb up on the altar by ourselves.
Trusting enough to say, "The Lord will provide (Genesis 22:8)."
Surrendered enough to say, "Even though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15)." Or, "My God is able to deliver me, but if not, I will serve no other god (Daniel 3:17-18)..."

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Sometime during the weeks of Lent, I felt a check, an obvious God-led check, to walk away from my blog. The reasons were obvious to me, and I wrote about it in the last article, so no need to recap here, except to say, I was deeply convicted that I'd gotten off track from God's original road regarding, and had fallen into a pit that was holding me trapped: a huge need for personal validation, upon which my God-given-identity was being skewed (please note, I'm not referring to my self-worth, which is a whole different animal).

This wasn't something I was giving up for Lent, but the fact that it was the season of preparation for Resurrection, definitely played into the decision. There is an old spiritual exercise called "examen," which I have been more intentional to add in preparation for Easter's glorious message. As I looked inward more closely, the truths of my me-problem resonated loud and clear, and I sensed the Lord saying (not singing), "Let it go."

I did. In obedience, I entered a new season of quiet reflection. It's been a sweet time with the Lord, and so much has come into focus (by the way, a dear friend had told me this would be so, and she was right). Since the day I made the decision, I've discovered a lot of things that have needed tweaking in my soul. Some adjustments are being made, not unlike seeing a chiropractor, physically. It's hurt at times, but the outcome is beneficial and results in much more energy, spiritually.

This brings us to last Sunday, also known as Pentecost. Not commemorated in most churches, this day is steeped in historical traditions. To the Jewish community, it is the 50 day-celebration-mark following the Exodus, and God writing down the Ten Commandments for Moses on tablets of stone. For the New Testament Church, it is the 50-day-celebration that followed Christ's resurrection as read in Acts 2. I'd recommend following the link provided and read, again, this familiar story. However, suffice it to say, the disciples of Jesus, following their Savior's commands, found their "tongues loosed," and to their surprise, speaking in languages they'd never learned, doing exactly what the Lord had commanded them prior to His ascension:

Make disciples (Mt. 28:18-20)
Be my witnesses (Acts 1:8)

As that sunk in, so did my breath. These passages had been my "missional focus" so very many years ago. Once again, I felt the push of the call. I sensed a compulsion to do what I have been commissioned to do. The Lord re-visited me with the words of my very own mission statement, "to teach the words of the Lord and witness to 'the mighty works of God' in my life, whether through hand or mouth." The result of Sunday morning's personal time of quiet is a renewed call to pick up the pen, and in the words of Hemingway, "write hard and clear," especially about "what hurts."

So, what is the life-lesson here? I'd challenge with this. Have you sought God's call on your life? Do you know what He's releasing you to "Go and Do"? And, if so, are you journeying that road with a destination in mind? A destination with guard rails that will keep you on track? A destination with purposeful direction; a direction helps you stay clear of your own personal validation, and results in glorifying God's mighty works in your life?

If so, then Go...and...Do!