It is hard to find people to align with to work together for a common purpose. It is important that people have the same vision or it will be difficult to make any progress. The right heart is also important, because working together for some goal or project is done well when people respect each other.
In 2 Kings 10, we read about Jehu and Jehonadad. Ahab’s family was just killed. Jehu left in his chariot and met Jehonadad who was coming to meet him. Jehu “greeted him” or “saluted him.” The word used is “barak,” which means “blessed” or “kneel down.” He showed respect and affection. Jehu then asks Jehonadab if his heart is right, because if he was going to join him with his mission, he would need to have his heart right with him. We see that Jehonadab says his heart is right and Jehu asks for his hand and allows him to join his chariot. No longer is it Jehu alone with this mission forward. He now is joined in this endeavor.
It is important to work together with each other. It is also important that, if we work together, we share in a common goal with a right heart. When it comes to ministry, a right heart is a heart devoted to Jesus. When we come together devoted for Jesus Christ, we find that, just as His Word says, we can do greater things (John 14:12).
“Now when he had departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him; and he greeted him and said to him, ‘Is your heart right, as my heart is with your heart?’ And Jehonadab answered, ‘It is.’ Jehu said, ‘If it is, give me your hand.’ And he gave him his hand, and he took him up to him into the chariot.” – 2 Kings 10:15 [NASB]
In Proverbs 20:24 we read, “The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” (MSG). The Lord directs our steps. We are not going to understand everything along the way. But still we are to walk in faith.
I have planned many plans. I thought they were the best possible plans for me. They looked good. They sounded good. But after I followed those plans, I stumbled, failed, or simply didn’t get the outcome I expected. It didn’t make any sense. God’s plans are now the plans I follow, but still the plans don’t make sense. How can man understand his way? I often wonder what is going to happen next because I only see with limited sight while God has the big picture.
There were many occasions when I walked in faith and expected a particular outcome, but got something so very different than I could have imagined. Remember, His thoughts are not like our thoughts. Our God is a God of the impossible. We often limit God by coming up with our miniscule plans. We think they are grand plans, but if we could see His plans, we would laugh at our little ideas. Today I challenge you to seek God as you envision what He has for your life. Walk forward taking the steps he directs. Praise Him along the way and don’t forget to tell people when you have a “Boom” moment. What’s that? That’s when you finally reach the end of a season and you see what He has done. Boom. So much more than I imagined. Boom. Wow, that’s incredible! Boom. Get blown away by God. Don’t limit Him. Fly with Him. Soar high my friends.
“A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [ESV]
When I was a little girl, I had a crazy imagination and I had a lot of time to consider my future. I had a complete future dreamed up, with the number of kids, how my husband would be, the job I would have, etc. Some of what I imagined became reality and there was a point in life when I thought everything I had envisioned was right in my grasp; however, my fantasy world crumbled before my very eyes.
In today’s passage, Bildad asked Job if he wanted to have the world redesigned for him, to have reality suspended for him. It meant should that which is firm as a rock get removed as a special accommodation for Job so that he could have his own reality. Or one could say that which doesn’t fit or work into my plans be removed so I could have the reality I want.
Bildad understood that God designed the world and that was reality. God is Creator. God is King. Of course with his truth he was misdirected regarding Job; however, we also need to ask ourselves this same question. There are moments when the reality that is before us doesn’t fit our plan and we need to step back and realize that our plan and God’s plan aren’t totally aligned. Improper alignment causes us to desire a redesigned reality. Remember God’s plan is so much better than the one we could ever imagine.
“Bildad from Shuhah chimed in:
‘How monotonous these word games are getting!
Get serious! We need to get down to business.
Why do you treat your friends like slow-witted animals?
You look down on us as if we don’t know anything.
Why are you working yourself up like this?
Do you want the world redesigned to suit you?
Should reality be suspended to accommodate you?’”
-Job 18:4 [MSG]
Today I took a walk and it was really foggy outside. The funny thing about fog is that when you are walking through the fog, you cannot see ahead of you, and you cannot see behind you either. If you turn around to look where you just came from, you cannot see anything except for right where you are at– you can only focus on the present. It reminds me about how we are supposed to focus our attention on the present.
If we focus so much on the past, we are taking our focus off of God, because God is in the here and now. God is in the present, right now, with us, working, clearing the path, preparing us, by our side– He is with us! If we are trying to focus on the past… oh I wish I could have done that better…oh I wish I never did this… why did I do that… how did this happen… you feel so much of a failure and you focus so much attention on the past that you are not allowing your focus to be on God and right now so that good things can happen… so that you can focus on your purpose for now and move ahead.
In the same sense you cannot focus on the future. It’s okay to have a vision. It’s okay to plan things out. It’s not okay when you start becoming afraid of what is going to happen. If you start focusing too much attention on the future of all the great things that are going to happen, as well, you take your focus off of God.
C.S. Lewis has a book called “the Screwtape Letters.” Letter 15 talks about the danger of focusing on the past, because God’s not there, and focusing on the future. The future he says, inflames fear and hope. The past is “frozen and no longer flows.” The present, he says, “is all lit up with eternal rays.” Gratitude looks to the past. Love looks to the present. Fear, lust, and ambition looks to the future. As Matthew 6:34 states, we need to not worry about tomorrow because today has enough worries.
God gives us all we need to handle today. We just need to be focused on today to see that. It’s okay to have plans. It’s good to have a vision for your life. We cannot get so involved about what happened in the past (because God has already forgiven us for that) that we don’t focus on the here and now. You cannot get so involved in what God is going to do with you in the future, because you won’t listen then to what He is saying right now. Jeremiah 29:11 gave us the promise. He wants us to have hope and He wants us to have a future.
We need to focus on right now, today, and listen to what He is saying. There are times when we are not going to hear things. There are times when we won’t get the answer we want. If you are confused right now about which direction you are to take in life… if you have decisions you need to make and you prayed about it and you don’t think you’ve gotten enough answers on which way to go, but you know you need to go in a certain direction… it’s okay to take a step forward. God is with you. If it’s the wrong step, you’ll know. You’ll find out. It’s okay to make mistakes. God uses those mistakes to teach us some important lessons.
Don’t focus on the fog in your life. Don’t focus on the past. It’s okay to learn from your mistakes and it’s okay to grow from your mistakes, but don’t focus on the past. At the same time, don’t focus on the future. It’s okay to have a vision for your life. It’s okay to have hopes and dreams, but understand that God is in the present- He’s in the here and now and He’s working with you to get to the future. It’s all about your eternal life, not just about this one moment. And so you need to focus on the present, and in the end, no matter what, God is always with you.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
– Matthew 6:34 [NIV]
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
– Jeremiah 29:11 [ESV]
When my kids were smaller they enjoyed playing with sidewalk chalk, drawing their own special creations. We would spend hours outlining our hands, capturing the image of a dog, and writing names. The chalk images and text would stay there for a few days, getting lighter as the time passed by. Sometimes the rain would come and our entire day’s work was gone in an instant, almost like we were never there at all.
The real issue is that although the chalk wipes away, the image is still imprinted in our minds. I can still see some of our sketches. I can picture the smiles on their faces. I can smell the air and even feel the sun beating down upon us. I can hear their laughter. All I need to do is “see” that image in my mind and it all comes back to me like I am there right at this moment.
To me, the purpose of the chalk is that it is making a mark on something. The kids are fascinated about making marks on the pavement. They are leaving their own little imprints. As some get older, they may even make their little marks with graffiti as well. What it all comes down to is leaving a mark.
A mark isn’t simply something that is engraved into a wooden park bench that says “Brian loves Sally.” A mark isn’t merely black spray paint letting it be known that “Tommy was here” at the bridge underpass. A mark may not even be the scribble a toddler leaves on a parent’s refrigerator. I am not talking about those marks at all.
I am talking about meaning. I am talking about purpose. I am talking about something that will be left behind showing that you did something good and you left a mark in someone’s life. A mark is when you touch someone’s life and they are forever changed for the better.
This past weekend I attended a memorial for a dear brother in Christ. He left so many marks on so many lives. The church was filled with individuals united by one purpose– to celebrate his life. He taught some people the importance of prayer. He taught some others to not discard burnt cookies because there is value in everything. He showed us by example. He had a vision to share the Gospel with anyone his path crossed. He served others. He sacrificed. He did everything with love. He surely left one beautiful mark.
The time we have we are uncertain, but we know we are to put it to good use. We know we are to give our lives to Christ. We are to have a vision for our lives with God’s purpose in mind. Andy Stanley wrote, “A carefully planted vision, like a seed, grows to take on a life and shape of its own. Long after the sower is gone, the seed continues to grow” (“Visioneering” 114). My question today is are you allowing God to direct your path, so that His purpose for your life is met? He created you to leave a mark– a mark for His kingdom. It is a mark that does not wash away.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14 [NIV]
I always like to think I am doing a good job– who doesn’t? We like to think we are doing our best at balancing our lives. We are helping people. We are spreading the Message. We are praying. We are going to church. We seem to be doing some great things, but I think at times we don’t look at our full potential.
I’m busy. Aren’t we all? I can say that I devote some time to God daily. Does that make me special? Not at all. Devoting time to God daily is a good thing; however, we need to analyze where our other time is going, and see what exactly holds the most attention.
See, this past week I had something happened which changed things for me temporarily. I had an injury to my eye which made it difficult to do much of anything. I was not able to be on the computer for much time at all. I couldn’t go out and about much. I was stuck at home, and was left to think a lot. Thinking can be a good thing; it can bring you to a realization that couldn’t be recognized during the busy moments.
I was sneaking some messages into vlogs and blogs, and I was talking to people about God. I was doing the website. I was reading my Bible daily. I was trying to be a good neighbor and to share the love of Christ with people. But how much time did those things take? What was I doing with the rest of my day?
I recognized while I was without my proper sight, that I had my vision a bit skewed. The clock was ticking and I was allowing it to tick by as I was doing something that wasn’t necessarily getting anything accomplished. If we spend so little time trying to spread the Gospel, and trying to do what we are purposed to do, we are really giving God our leftovers.
I think when we look through our eyes, we miss a lot. While I was without proper sight, I asked God to give me His eyes. His eyes see things a whole lot different than mine. I think this song says it best…