Thoughts on Psalm 32

psalm-32-esv-word cloud1 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,  Whose sin is covered! 2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord  does not impute iniquity,  And in whose spirit there is no deceit! 3 When I kept silent  about my sin,  my body wasted away  Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;  My vitality was drained away  as  with the fever heat of summer. Selah. 5 I acknowledged my sin to You,  And my iniquity I did not hide;  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord “;  And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. 6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;  Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him. 7 You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;  You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;  I will counsel you with My eye upon you. 9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,  Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,  Otherwise  they will not come near to you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,  But he who trusts in the Lord , lovingkindness shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the Lord  and rejoice, you righteous ones;  And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.

V. 1-2: Is there any more blessed state to be in than forgiven? Without it, nothing matters and with it, our relationship with God is unhindered.

Secrets in a BoxV. 3-4: Secrets never pay. Confess sin quickly and with a heart to change.

V. 5: God wants to forgive our sin, not accuse and condemn us with our sin.

V. 6-7: “The rush of great waters”  – Times of unexpected trouble and calamity hit like a flood. You’re never sure if and when a flood is coming nor just how much damage it will do. Surely “flood times” come but the Lord is a “hiding place for me” who will “preserve me from trouble” and surround me with “shouts of deliverance.”

V. 8-9: The Lord is your teacher and His eye is on you as a good dad who is helping his child learn a new skill. He is rooting for you and telling you those things that are in your best interest. You have the best teacher you could ever need. If there is a problem it is one of stubbornness. DON’T be like the chaff that does not bend when the wind blows; BE like the wheat that yields to the wind. DON’T be stiff-necked and arrogant; BE teachable and obedient.

V. 10: Don’t envy the wicked when it seems like they are prospering. Most of the time, you only see what they want you to see—not their reality. And later, when eternal rewards are passed out, you will rejoice in knowing that you lived a life of obedience and so glorified God. You will be rewarded by your Father.

V. 11: So, once you’ve left sin and delighted in God, you can REJOICE! “Be glad in the Lord.” Any other source of gladness and joy is sure to fail. People falter. Money is hear then gone. Health and beauty fade. BUT, the Lord is constant. Your joy is safely placed in the sure bedrock of his unchanging nature and character. Hallelujah!!! Rejoice because, by the sacrifice of Jesus’ life, you have the opportunity to be called, “the upright in heart.”

What Does It Take to Get Things Done?

Most of us are ok with disappointing ourselves. We do it all the time. We say we’ll be dressed by 7:30 am but the bed just feels too warm and comfortable so we reason, “Well, 7:45 will be ok…” Or, we say, “I’m going to exercise three times a week!” but then we only see the gym occasionally at best.

At some level, most of us are ok with disappointing others. This one is a little more difficult depending on whom we are disappointing and what we are or are not doing. For example, are we talking about not showing up for a doctor’s appointment until 5 minutes late or are we talking about missing an important deadline at the office or are we talking about cheating on a spouse. As the degree of relationship and covenant increases, the tension and disappointment of breaking that promise becomes increasingly difficult but, as we can all attest, such infractions are not uncommon.

to-do-listUltimately, the highest and best form of accountability comes from love. When you love, fulfilling your duties becomes an act of devotion. Exercising is not longer drudgery and being on time is not an inconvenience—rather, they are sacrifices you willingly make because of your love/devotion to the person/idea that you are sacrificing to please.

For the Believer, accountability begins and ends with our love for God and His call on our lives. What is it that you know God has called you to do? How are you giving yourself to His cause? Do you fear that you will stand before Him with excuses having wasted the gifts of energy, influence, relationships, money and time that He has blessed you with? If not, you should. That kind of fear is very healthy and warranted. Perfect love casts out the fear of  condemnation and introduces us to the fear of disappointing the One we love. Ultimately, accountability comes back to love.

Today, what is the thing you’ve been procrastinating about? What is the thing you’re dreading applying yourself too? What is the thing you know that is coming but keep failing to prepare for because you are “petrified” — literally, frozen, moved into non-action, by fear?

Friend, I encourage you to embrace true accountability by following these simple steps:

1. Ask God for greater love and reverential fear for Him. Acknowledge His “worthiness” to receive everything you can give Him.

2. Identify those things that God Himself has called you to do and write them down. For example, journal something like this:
“God, I genuinely believe that you want me to…”

3. Write down a plan of how to get from where you are to where you need to go.

4. Align your conversations, schedule and budget with the plan of God for your life.

5. Set times to measure progress and adjust your plan for greater fruitfulness.

When it’s all said and done, you are ok with disappointing yourself and others but when we cultivate a reverential love for God, that will put us on the path to getting the right things done.

What Grandmaster Ip taught me about discipleship

It takes my wife to really talk about it, but I recently discovered a series of movies that I really enjoyed—Ip Man & Ip Man, 2. The movies star Donnie Yen as Ip Man, a kung fu grandmaster whose most famous pupil, Bruce Lee, went on to popularize the Wing Chun fighting style.

ip-man-donnie-yen

The movie depicts the historical narrative of Ip Man, who was born in the late 1800’s in Foshan, China and taught kung fu to a limited number of devoted pupils. In Ip Man 1, we learn that Ip is a devoted student of Wing Chun who spends hours each day practicing but seldom takes students—he is frustrated that they will not devote themselves to the art. Around town, it is commonly known that he is the best fighter in Foshan so when a band of bullies shows up to embarrass all of the local “sifus” (masters), Master Ip redeems the town’s honor. Later, the Foshan people are being bullied by Japanese solders until Master Ip revives their pride by defeating the occupying Japanese general which sparks civil revolution.

In Ip Man 2, Master Ip moves to the big city, Hong Kong to open a Wing Chun kung fu school. His presence as an instructor is opposed but his pupils are determined to learn Wing Chun and persist through ridicule, bullying and being kicked out of the place where they practice. Eventually, the Wing Chun discipline grows to become internationally acclaimed.

Interestingly, these two movies refreshed a couple of simple truths about discipleship for me. Discipleship is one of the principle tenets of the Christian faith—it is an idea that we must firmly grasp in concept and adhere to in practice if we are to be faithful Christians. However, “discipleship” as a term, a definition and as a practice is widely disagreed upon among Christians. Here are a few things Ip Man reminded me about as it relates to discipleship…

1. Everyone has a Master.
Master Ip chose Wing Chun kung fu as the thing to which he would devote all of himself. He ate, rested and exercised to excel at Wing Chun. He drew his identity and sense of self from his relationship to Wing Chun. Later, others would follow his example, pursuing mastery of this martial art form above all else.

We are all giving our lives to something. We are all deriving our identity from something or someone. We are all leaning in a direction. Sometimes it is a conscious effort as in Master Ip’s case. Other times, it is an unconscious reflex set off by our selfish hearts. James 4 says it this way: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”

“Passions” are pulling and pushing you through this life. If you don’t think so, try sustaining a new behavior that is at odds with your current behavior and you’ll feel the tension before long between what you should do and what you actually do.

2. Discipleship starts with me.
Master Ip’s wife often resented Ip’s dedication to perfecting his artform. His devotion to the practice of Wing Chun drove him to push his body and his mind. To put it lightly, Master Ip, gave careful attention to the source of his affection, Wing Chun. His careful attention led to proficiency. His proficiency qualified him to share with others. But don’t miss this—before he was teaching hundreds of students, he had to put in thousands of hours of practice.

What are you disciplining yourself to master? To what or whom are you giving careful attention so that you can become proficient—so proficient that you can lead another down the path you’ve taken. Even if no one else is going, will you go? Will you follow the sometimes lonely path of discipleship?

3. Discipleship costs.
Master Ip’s students would pay money each week to be disciples of Master Ip. But the money alone didn’t make them disciples. Master Ip’s students spent hundreds of hours with Master Ip. But spending time alone didn’t make them disciples.

You see, over the course of a year, it’s so easy to go to church and spend hundreds of hours in God’s house and even give thousands of dollars while there but the price of discipleship is nothing less than everything. Everything. EVERYTHING.

“If you want to follow me, take up your cross,” Jesus’ ancient challenge hasn’t changed. If we are to follow Christ as true disciples, we must give everything.

4. Discipleship is the pathway to multiplication.

Ip-Man-with-Bruce-Lee-002

Ip Man with Bruce Lee

How did Wing Chun grow from one humble man in Foshan to millions of admiring students around the world? Through discipleship. One sifu taught Ip Man. That one man taught other men. Those men taught other men and so it continued down to a young kid named Lee Jun-fan, who grew to be the man the world loved as Bruce Lee.

In similar fashion, Jesus had the most daunting task ever—redeem the world! Yet, during his 33 years on earth and roughly 3-1/2 years to accomplish his mission, he devoted most of his time to walking with just 12 men with whom the fate of his work rested. Sounds crazy but it worked. That’s why you and I are having this discussion. It’s because, if you were to trace our “spiritual family tree” back, back, back—you’d find one of these guys: Simon Peter. Andrew his brother. James. John. Philip. Bartholomew. Matthew. Thomas. James of Alphaeus. Simon the zealot. Jude of James. Judas Iscariot

Notably, for most of us, I suspect that you’d also find the Apostle Paul in our spiritual family tree and interestingly, even he was taught by other Christians. Yes, he met Jesus on the road to Emmaus but their interaction was brief. The Holy Spirit, through the lives of people like Ananias taught Paul the way of the Lord. Who are you teaching? Who are you learning from?

Discipleship is not something we Christians should ever get away from—it is in fact the way to multiplying the influence of the Kingdom on earth.

Cemented there in The Great Commission is the Master’s command: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey all the things I have commanded you. (See Matt. 28:19-20).

You may never be a kung fu master—but you can be a disciple of Jesus Christ who makes disciples.

Communicate Less for More

Confused Solutions And StrategyRecently, I had the opportunity to share with leaders at the Gospel Heritage Praise & Worship Conference. As always, the conference was great! I shared in the Pastors and Leaders track. The session was titled, “Excellence in Presentation”.

As soon as I got the invitation, I knew what I would talk about…I knew that I would talk about how important it is that an organization’s organizational strategy and communications system not be thought of as two separate ideas, but complimentary parts of a healthy church or business.

In the process of preparing, I did lots of reading and research. Much of it was getting at the same core issue but each author had a nuanced way of saying it. In the end, I wanted to give them ALL of the great info that I had learned but, I’m learning that when it comes to communication, sometimes—most times—less is more.

Instead of deluging people with tools and tips, scripts and handouts, I decided to go with a focused presentation that hit on a few points.

Is your organization “over-communicating” to people? Are you telling them 10 things at a time instead of one thing at a time? It is an easy thing to do but, as we discussed in the class, one way to manage this issue is to create one place where people in your organization can go to find everything. It may be a website or an informational bulletin board or a help desk. Whatever it is, it should be a reflection of how your congregation gets information—which may not necessarily be what’s most convenient for you.

Your 2013 Goal Check-Up

2013-Target-GoalToday is the last day of the first month of the year. Rewind just 30 days ago to January 1, 2013. The natural energy, zeal and sense of renewal that come with each new year are fading and tomorrow, February begins. So, before the year ebbs away, let’s talk: How are you doing with your 2013 goals?

The question does assume a few things that we should review:

1. Do you need goals?

There was some backlash this year about goal-setting cleverly couched as “anti-resolutions”; the idea being that if you don’t call it a resolution then you won’t fail. Others suggested that we ignore the instinctual push a new year gives to evaluate the past and make a declaration about our futures. Friends, you and I need goals. Jesus had a goal. Paul had a goal. Without a goal, we are aimless and drifting. Life is less satisfying and we are poor stewards of the gift of life.

2. Have you documented your goals?

A goal without a plan is a pipe-dream! Write your goals down. Attach a WHY to the goal that is bigger than you but includes you and comes from God. Then, schedule your celebration stops. When I get “here” I’m going to get “this” prize (a milkshake, a new pair of jeans, a new car?!”). Seriously, write down your goals—the statistics are overwhelming that people who set goals significantly over-achieve those that do not.

C:workspaceDesigns11-8100s81361-8136-55-1 Model (1)3. Are you monitoring your progress?

Who is going to win the SuperBowl? Without a scoreboard and a time clock, no one would! Your life has a scoreboard that Heaven keeps and a time clock that races to your final end. The thing is you don’t know how long your clock will tick. Here’s what I recommend, create a scoreboad that accounts for your purpose. What are you here for? Write down a few key things you know that you’re supposed to be doing and be FAITHFUL to work on that each day. Mark your progress and celebrate when you hit your goals.

Today is a time for review. Add urgency to living out your mission in life. Add accountability to your goals to ensure productive activity. Add planned celebrations as a reward to keep the sacrifices in perspective.

And, in case no one has told you yet this year…believe that you can. As Phil. 4:13 declares “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

The Question is Never “IF” You Are Using Your Influence but “HOW”


Each of us wields a certain measure of influence. Influence is sway. Its the ability to turn heads and minds and hearts and hands in a direction. Your influence can grow and it can shrink. It can be used for good or for evil. But whatever you do, your influence should not go ignored, especially not by you.

There is a story in 1 Kings 13 of a young prophet who was wrongly influenced by an older prophet. The young prophet was given a message of judgment to deliver and then to get out of there.

And the man of God said to the king,  “If you give me half your house,  I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place,  for so was it commanded me by the word of the  Lord , saying, “You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.”  So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.

The young prophet did as he was supposed to and departed another way. However, the sons of the old prophet heard what the young prophet had done and when they told it to their father, the old man instructed them to saddle up the donkey. He rode the beast as quickly as he could in the direction that the young prophet had set out in until he found him sitting under a tree. There he gave him this contrary instruction:

Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”

The young prophet knowing the voice of the Lord responded quickly:

And he said,  “I may not return with you, or go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place,  for it was said to me  by the word of the  Lord , “You shall neither eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by the way that you came.”

But, here comes the moment where the old prophet leveraged his influence in a wrongful and irresponsible way:

And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the  Lord , saying, “Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.” But he lied to him.  So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.

The rest of the story records that, as the young prophet and the old prophet sat together at the dinner table, the Word of the Lord came to the old prophet who in lament cried out:

And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the  Lord , “Because you have disobeyed the word of the  Lord  and have not kept the command that the  Lord  your God commanded you,  but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.”

The young prophet got on a donkey headed home the next morning. While on the road, he met his demise when a lion tore him to pieces in the middle of the road. For hours, the lion stood right beside the mangled but uneaten carcass and so did the donkey. The lion never struck the donkey or ate the man’s flesh. The young prophet was made an object lesson that day.

The regret-filled old prophet got word of the tragic state of affairs and collected himself to go recover the body. By the time he arrived at the homicide scene, the lion and the donkey were still just standing beside the young prophet’s carcass. The old prophet must have been somewhat nervous as he walked between the two beasts and dragged the lion’s kill onto the waiting donkey but at the same time, he knew that he was to blame.

He had misused his influence and now a young, innocent prophet who had so much potential lay dead in the street. Here’s my question: How are you using or misusing your influence?

A Few Questions Worth Answering…

Who Am I? – This is a question of IDENTITY.
Who I am is not what I do or what I have. Who I am is a gift from my Maker. Until this issue is properly settled, your actions, experiences and reception from others will rule you. Once this issue is settled, you finally find the freedom to live.

What do I have? – This is a question of INVENTORY
What Spiritual and Natural Gifts, Skills, Knowledge, Experiences, Expertise, Interests, Training do you have. Invest the time to take inventory of what God has put in you and allowed you to experience. Good and bad—ALL of these things are part of your story and your story can end good if you love God and have been called according to His purpose. Take inventory because what you have is all you need to take the next step.

Who can I be helpful to? – This is a question of ASSIGNMENT

Look at your unique design to discover what you can do to serve others. Then consider the people who need you. Trust God that they are out there because He would not have made you as He did if He didn’t have purpose in mind.

What do I want to see? – This is a question of VISION
When you dream with God, what does He show you? What possibilities does He uncover in your private time with Him? Intimacy with God births vision.

What or Who will I sacrifice for? This is a question of PASSION
There is an idea or person or vision that you will prefer above your own comfort and convenience. You will stay up late for it and get up early for it. You’ll read when you don’t have to and listen when others won’t. That thing is your passion and your passion unlocks your compassion. Compassion is passion for an idea, person or vision combined with action calculated to support that  idea, person or vision. Your passion in action is satisfaction.

Who do I know and who knows me? – This is a question of NETWORKING
Relationships are a two-way street in which “ship” — cargo is shared as people “relate” to one another. Be measured in showing people who you are but don’t be afraid. Some will not understand. Others will mock. None of that matters. What matters is the few people God will allow to surround you who believe in you and whom you believe in. The purpose of these relationships is to partner with one another on the path to destiny. Like an adventurer on a long journey home, you will meet lots of interesting characters in your story. Some will stay too long and with some, it won’t seem long enough but the key is that you are on a journey. You have a destination to arrive at and the journey is fitting you for the destination. You are becoming.

Where am I? – This is a question of ASSESSMENT
C.S. Lewis has skillfully articulated the idea that one of the many facets of humans that the animal kingdom does not share is the ability to step outside of ourselves to evaluate ourselves. There is a consciousness that we can get to through which we look over our own lives and ask, “No, really, where AM I?” I’d like to tell you that the key is to be objective but objectivity is a myth. Everything is subjected to one’s own viewpoint of the world. No, the real answer to the “Where am I?” question can only be found by asking someone who knows. Consider this brief illustration: An unexperienced skipper is on a small boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He has no map but he does have a cell phone. Using a satellite, the watch tower has pinpointed his direction and tells him exactly where he is and where he should go next. If the skipper is wise, he will heed the words of the watch tower as to where he is and what steps he should take next.

Remove the allegory and place you and God in the story and it becomes clear that the “where” question is not best answered by the unexperienced skipper with no map.

Thoughts on Strength

Power exists in different ways…

For ONE, power is a matter of Ownership.
One who is master over something has the prerogative to do with it as he wills. One who is owner of something has the right to utilize is for his own purposes. Ultimately, power belongs to God and originates from Him.

For YOU & ME, power is a matter of Stewardship.
One who is a steward over something has a master to whom he must account. A steward has a duty to manage something. And, he is to do it in the way the master has expressed and in the spirit of the master. Should he act outside the master’s will, he has usurped authority over the item and is guilty before his master.

Some times power is on  Demonstration.
On occasion, a strong wind or magnificent earthquake gets our attention. We cower at the sheer power of “mother nature.” In truth, the power is of God and the display of power in nature ought to cause us to reflect on the power source. In the same way, a talented singer’s gifted voice should cause us to orbit our praise and adoration on the one who has given the talent in the first place.

What Happens When We Get “Ahead” of God?

In Genesis 16, Hagar, an Egyptian servant of Sarai, is drafted into Sarai’s plan to marry Abram, Sarai’s husband so that she can birth the child Abram has been promised. Sounds like a horrible episode of a reality TV show, right?

As can be expected, things do not go well for Hagar, Sarai or Abram. The repercussions of their arrangement are still felt today.

Hagar was used, not loved, by her husband. In fact, verse 6 records:
But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.

Abram referred to his second wife as his first wife’s servant instead of owning the consequences of his own poor decision. This put Hagar in such a bad position that she eventually ran away. Abram’s unwillingness to shield her from the wrath of Sarai left Hagar vulnerable and unprotected. Things were so bad that she went pregnant and alone into the wilderness. How desperate must this pregnant woman have been to have taken such a drastic course of action?

Sarai suffered as well. She now felt that she had to contend for the affections of her longtime husband. She now felt inferior to the younger, fertile Hagar. She now questioned what role she would have in Abram’s life now that Hagar had become pregnant with the promised child. All of these extra concerns because of a poor choice.

I can imagine that Sarai also lost a friend. I imagine that she had become quite cordial with Hagar prior to this situation. After all, she recommended her, of all their many servants, to be the mother for Abram’s child. But, when Sarai felt uncomfortable about the arrangement, all of the former niceties went out the door and she subjugated Hagar as a slave rather than a concubine. The Ryrie Commentary says that this was a common practice of that day, “as attested in legal codes and marriage contracts of that time,” and that Sarai’s demotion of Hagar “was Sarah’s legal right.”

NOTE: If you have a relationship that functions solely based on contractual rights and terms, you can expect the tenor and temperature of the relationship to be cool.

Abram suffered in the arrangement too. He was now the man caught in a power struggle between his wife of many years and his concubine. Any sign of tenderness or concern for Hagar was likely taken as a sign of disloyalty by Sarai. Hagar probably grew attached to Abram as well. After all, they had married and engaged in the very intimate marital act of sex. Abram also had a divided lineage from this point on. Abram was a loving father but the day came when the toxic, combustible environment created by Abram’s decisions and tenuously held together with careful pretenses could no longer hold up against the reality of the situation.

But Sarah  saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham,  laughing.    So she said to Abraham,  “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.”  And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son.  But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for  through Isaac shall your offspring be named.

The story of Genesis 16 is a rather sad one that made the lives of three people very hard, not to mention the lives of their progeny. It makes me think about how important it is that we not “get ahead of God.” In truth, we are never ahead of God but sometimes we think we can use our own ingenuity and creativity to help us get what we know God wants us to have. This is a misstake.

If we get to points where we are unsure of what direction to take, it would be better that we stay on the course God placed us on than to try some half-baked idea that we haven’t run past Him. It doesn’t matter that it’s what “everyone else is doing.” It may not be right for you. Instead, position yourself for success by 1. deciding up front that you will do things God’s way and 2. positioning yourself to hear from Him by seeking Him out—through His Word, through worship, through prayer, through wise counsel.

God has no problems getting you to a certain destination. In fact, the older I get, the more I believe that life is not really about the destination, but about the person you are becoming along the journey.

Joshua 1: Called & Equipped

Some of the stories in the Old Testament are just astouding. They make you take a second look like, “Did that really happen?!” Yes, it did!!

Joshua 1 is one of those passages. Imagine it—Moses, the revered, grand and great leader of Israel, the Deliverer, the Friend of God,  has passed on and no one knows where he’s buried. The younger apprentice Joshua is thrust into the forefront with great challenges ahead of the nation of Israel and few allies. What to do!?

I can imagine Joshua was nervous and insecure. He had experienced victories before but never as the man. There’s something different about performing under a new set of expectations. There’s something different about being the guy in charge. All of a sudden there are unspoken expectations about how you’re supposed to behave and what you’re supposed to know and who you’re supposed to be. People relate to you differently and it’s not all honor for your position—some folks think you can give them something they want.

Joshua’s transition also had several positives. His predecessor Moses had also been his mentor. Joshua had served alongside Moses for many years and been battle-tested and affirmed by Moses in front of all the people. Moses had left a clear plan of succession such that the people expected him to take over the leadership role from Moses. But perhaps the most important aspect of his succession was that the Lord had called and equipped him for the context that the Lord put him in.

Called — Taking a leadership post in service to the Lord is such a holy and difficult task that no one should do it presumptuously. That is to say, you shouldn’t appoint yourself where God has not appointed you. Desiring a leadership position is a good thing but the path to fulfilling that desire should be one paved by God. It may turn out that God has an altogether different path in mind for you anyway? Be open to his calling in your life.

How do you know what God is calling you to? Well, like Elijah, it probably won’t come in a violent windstorm, earthquake or fire, it may not come in a dream in the night or a vision by day, but it will come.

Listen.

Be still inside. Let your anxious thoughts be ceased in the wonder of God and His presence. As you lose yourself in worship (not just the congregational singing kind, but the lifestyle characterized by a conscious focus on God), you will find your identity (you are a son of God) and your purpose (to know God and to make Him known) and your calling (this is your specific way of expressing the identity and purpose God has for you).

Equipped — Like a good leader, God equips us with what we need for the journey and assignment he has for us. Consider these passages that reveal just what Joshua needed most:

Friend, if God has called you, He has equipped you. Take comfort in this fact and put your confidence in Him.

A PRAYER: Lord, I thank You that You have given me everything I need to fulfill the assignment before me. The giants are opposing me. Those who should have my back question my ability to lead. There are so many missing pieces between where I am now and where I believe you want to take me. Yet, you have called me and I am equipped. Lead me. Stay with me. Help me. Father, I know that You love me and work in all things for my good. Jesus, all authority is Your’s and I thank You that You lead me in triumph. Holy Spirit, you comfort me in every distress and are ever-present with me. Therefore, my heart will trust in the Lord..