God Calls Us to be Humbly Daring!

 

For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.  By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; my praise is continually of You.

Psalm 71:5-6 (NASB)peak-experience

Psalm 71, written by David, speaks of God as a refuge and fortress and rock in the midst of the plots and schemes of ruthless men against him.  As I read again this morning verses 5-6 stood out to me.  It is clear that our great God is our refuge and strength in times of trouble.  If you’re facing trials and difficulties, know that you can find salvation and help in Him.

But as I read these verses this morning, the word that jumped off the page was confidence.  David declares that the Lord has been his confidence since his youth.  David understood there was no room for self-reliance.  Sure, there were huge failures in his life, but in the end, he always returned to the truth that without the Lord, he was hopeless.  Think of David’s defeat of Goliath, his willingness to trust God’s timing in becoming king as he fled from Saul, and his reliance upon God as he led Israel.

Two Mission-Cripping Mindsets
As you consider your own life, maybe you realize you are looking to yourself for confidence in far too many instances.  Doing this leads to two mission-crippling mindsets:

  1. Pride – If you fail to recognize God as the strength and provider of all things in your life, you begin to take credit for things that only God deserves.  This makes you a glory thief, and God will not share His glory!  This pride will quickly lead to Kingdom ineffectiveness.
  2. Fear – The opposite mindset created by self-reliance is that of fear.  If you believe it is up to you to change the world in your strength and abilities and you recognize how short you fall in being able to do this, you will be handcuffed by fear.  You’ll never dare to do great things because you think its up to you.  This too hinders you from experiencing the fullness of what God wants to do through you.

A Proper Balance
When we find our confidence in the Lord, we’ll find proper balance between pride and fear.  Pride is dispelled by confidence in the Lord because we recognize God as the source of power working through us to accomplish His mission.

Fear is dispelled when we understand its not up to us. All God is asking from us is surrender and obedience, and when we do this, we’ll see Him do things through us we never dreamed of doing.  We will risk boldly when we know it is Him working in us.

Both of these proper mindsets give God all glory for what He does.

O Lord, may we find our confidence in You today, and may this keep us humble while daring greatly as we see You at work through us to change the world.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

 

Take Initiative!

Ant-individual-Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.  How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest”–your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man.

Proverbs 6:6-11(NASB)

When I read these verses I usually think of their warning about laziness.  But what stands out to me in these verses this morning is more about taking initiative.  I believe we often sit back and wait for direction from a boss or pastor because we fear failure.  We want to be able to point to someone else when failure comes and say, “they told me to do it that way.”

This is not leadership in any form or fashion.  The ant doesn’t wait for a directive from a leader.  She knows what must be done, and she gets to it.  No delay. No hesitation.  Many times Christians will use the excuse of “waiting to hear from the Lord” for their complacency.  Certainly it is important for us to make space to wait on the Lord and hear from Him.  But when we leave our prayer closet each morning, it is impossible for us to say, “I’m not sure what God would have me do today.” God’s word is crystal clear:

LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE, MAKE DISCIPLES

Often it is our pride that keeps us sidelined.  Our pride says, “If I fail, people will think less of me.” What a lie!  Consider these perspectives on “failure.”

I haven’t failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas Edison

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

Henry Ford

To simply settle for the status quo way of doing things and waiting for someone to give you step-by-step instructions is not the way God wants you to live and lead.

Being used by God to change the world will never happen without risk.  But really, how risky is it to try valiantly and courageously to do something at the very center of the heart of God?  Our great God who has all the supply will never leave us.  Our great God who knows the path and will guide us in this pursuit if we are simply willing to step out in faith will accomplish things through us beyond what we could imagine (see Ephesians 3:20). What appears to be great risk in the eyes of the world is no risk at all when founded upon the will of God. But this will not happen through the life of someone who is unwilling to take initiative and lead.

So today, do not sit back.  Do not wait.  Get to the task at hand without wavering!

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Chronological Bible Reading – February 20 – Jesus touched the “unclean”

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 13-15

How does reading Leviticus heighten our appreciation for Jesus and His calling on our lives to reach the outcast?  Today’s entry should help answer this question.

This is the time of year during the Chronological Bible Reading Plan that can be a real struggle.  We’re right smack in the middle of the some of the most exciting passages in scripture…Levitical Law.  Instructions about washing and blood and oil and sacrifice don’t often provide much when it comes to devotional reading.  However, in the middle of today’s reading comes the instructions for the cleansing of women who have a discharge of blood.  This section outlines the pattern a woman would observe each month following her menstrual cycle.  She would be considered unclean for seven days following the end of her discharge of blood and then on the eighth day she would present an offering to the priests who would offer it on her behalf in order to complete her cleansing. Continue reading

Chronological Bible Reading – January 18 – The Gospel in Genesis 12

Today’s Reading: Genesis 11:27-15:21

Now the LORD said to Abram,
Go forth from you country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
Genesis 12:1-3 (NASB)

In Genesis 12, God makes a promise to Abraham.  He calls him away from everything he knows to the ultimate unknown.  He must leave family and land to follow God who has made this promise.  The last phrase of verse 3 is HUGE!  God promises to bless all the families of the earth through Abram.  How? Continue reading

The Election, God’s Sovereignty, Our Mission

I hesitated to post anything about the election results from two nights ago.  I realize it is such a volatile subject with so much emotion attached that such a post would do nothing but irritate an open wound for many.  However, leading up to the election I read many great posts on various pastors and authors blogs that helped my perspective remain fixed on the eternality of God in the face of what currently appears to be a very trying time for followers of Christ. Continue reading