Being Where God Wants Me to Be

Last time, I reflected on the roadblocks that God puts in our way. I think it’s important to recognize that sometimes, the obstacles we meet come from Him. We might have something we really want to do, but He knows we’re not ready. Maybe He wants to prepare us before we tackle something. So He blocks our path.

I look back on my own career, and it’s clear to me that I needed to wait. When I broke into the big leagues, at 22 years of age, I thought I was on top of the world. If God had given me fame then, or World Series success, then I think I would have considered myself unstoppable. Maybe I would have had a heart for some things, but back then, I didn’t have had a heart for the poor. I thought homeless people were lazy! I told them to get a job! Why would God allow me a platform when I had that kind of attitude toward people in poverty? Why would He give me a voice before I understood about injustice? I wouldn’t have used my voice, platform, or money the way that He wanted me to. I wasn’t ready!

He made me struggle for six years in the big leagues before giving me success. I’m okay with that. If He’d given me success right away, I don’t know if I would have been able to handle it in a holy and righteous way. The struggle was hard, but now I can see that He loved me too much to let me succeed right away. He said, “It’s not worth it. I can give you influence in a lot of ways, but I’ll do it six years from now — when you’re ready.” Now I can look back and see that, and I’m okay with it. Obviously!

I know it’s hard. You might be itching to do something that will, in your view, help build the Kingdom. But then God blocks you — while letting other people go and do it! It’s frustrating, I know. Why did God call David to be the King of Israel, instead of one of David’s brothers? They were all older, so theoretically at least, they were better prepared for it.

I don’t know why! But God could tell you. I think He looks at the heart of every man. I think He knows the heart of every man. That’s why I don’t get frustrated when I hit roadblocks. He puts them in my way for a reason. I’m Kingdom-minded. I want to help a lot of people. I do it by using my gifts. And I do it right where I am in life, because this is where God has put me.

Our place in life comes from God. The impact we have for the Kingdom comes from God. We are right where God wants us to be. Don’t feel bad, enjoy it! I enjoy what God has for me. I enjoy doing Kingdom work because of it.

Be content with where you’re at, and know that God has a purpose for it. You’ve been chosen for it, so just let it be. Once you understand that you are living the life that God has arranged for you, you will be content and joyful. Just say, ‘thank you.’

Believe you’re where you need to be. And if you don’t believe it, tell Him. Knock on that door, and ask Him for what your heart dreams about. Keep asking, too. Don’t give up.

See you Monday.

When Your Road is Blocked

Last time, I wrote about the dynamics of waiting. Sometimes, like David, we have to wait for God. He may not fulfill our calling right away. Part of waiting is learning to be content with whatever He gives us, or wherever He puts us.

I admit, I have a hard time being content. I’ve got vision. I want to do a lot! But I’ve also got three little boys that I love a lot. So when I hit a roadblock, I stop and think about it. Maybe that roadblock is an obstacle put there by God. Maybe I’ve asked God to open a door, and He says no. Maybe He says, “It’s not worth it to you to chase that ministry out there, not if it makes you forget the number one ministry right here.” So He closes the door.

I do think that God closes doors. He closes them for all kinds of reasons. He might have something else He wants you to do. He might not think you’re ready. He might not want you to get so busy with new tasks that you forget what you were called to do in the first place. So sometimes He’s going to put up a wall, even if it means that you’re going to run right into it. You’re going to have to be okay with it.

I’m not necessarily content when that happens! It can be frustrating to hit a roadblock, or find that a door is closed to you. I might say, “God, I feel like you’re restraining me. Why won’t you let me run free? I can do some good here, if you’ll just let me!” But He hears that, and He says, “You can’t do anything good. You can only do good through me. When I say no, I don’t care how much good you think you can do. It’s not worth it!”

It’s only through God and in Him that we can bring His Kingdom. We prepare the horse for battle, but the victory is His. (Prov. 21:31) We prepare for the things we want to do. We set the goals. But He delivers. If you hit a roadblock and He wants you to get around it, He’ll just flick it out of the way. So if He doesn’t remove it, it’s for a good reason.

If He’s saying not now, then it’s not now. It’s okay. Why not wait until He says you’re ready? He doesn’t want you to go through a door when you’re not sufficiently mature, spiritually or mentally, to be able to handle what will come. He can see when an opportunity would be good, but He can also see when your heart is not ready. He’ll block you if it’s not going to be good for you. And then He’ll prepare you.

Instead of getting frustrated with Him, or fighting your way through roadblocks, why not try listening to Him? Try asking and listening, asking and listening. Try saying, “God, here’s my heart. Here’s why I want to do this thing. Here’s why I’d like to get around that obstacle. I would really like to be able to do that, but only if I can do it through you. And until you say it’s time, I’ll be content.”

God isn’t saying don’t plan. He directs your steps, but your heart plans the way. (Prov. 16:9) Let your heart dream. Go ahead and tell Him. And then, just be open. He will make the way plain for you (Ps. 5:8).

See you Thursday.

Waiting for a Call

And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. 1 Samuel 16:11-13

As a young shepherd in Bethlehem, David got his call – to be King of Israel! And what happened next? Nothing! He went back to his sheep! God anointed him king, but David had to wait 15 years to get there.

Eventually, he was chased and persecuted by King Saul. He ran, he hid out in caves, and he survived by his wits. He had been called to the throne! And he didn’t get there for 15 years!

I think we want our call in 15 minutes. So David’s story is instructive. He had to wait, man. He had to wait a long time to become king.

Waiting for a call can be tough, although hopefully not as tough as it was for David. Is there anything you can do while you wait? Yes! Just open your heart. Open your heart up to God, your Father, and say, “All right, what do you want me to do? Anything you want me to do, I’ll do it. I just want to serve you.”

Sometimes you need to ask Him. “I am a child of yours, and I would love to go out and be a part of something that’s just awesome. If now is not the time, okay! But I’d really like to go, if it would be okay with you. I would love it.” And then just see what He says. If He says no, then that’s okay. Keep doing what you’re doing. If He says yes, He’ll make it happen.

I think sometimes God wants you to ask. If you never ask, you’ll never know. That’s why the Bible says to keep asking. “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2) But don’t forget, if you’re going to ask, you better be ready for the answer! If the answer’s no, you need to be okay with that. You may be disappointed. That’s fine! But you’ll need to get over it.

And you may just need to find your joy. Joy is not necessarily always in doing. Sometimes joy is just being where you’re at. I think that’s important to God too. Sometimes He wants you to just be. Be content sometimes. Be content with the calling you already have. Be content for now. When He feels like you have matured enough and you can handle what’s in store for you, He’ll call you and send you out. But until then, just be content.

In the long run, you’re going to be happier because you waited. If you do something that you think is so great, but you do it outside of God, you’re going to be disappointed. If He lets you go before you’re ready, you’re going to be miserable. And then you’re not going to like what you’re doing. You won’t find your joy. God doesn’t want that for you. What would be the point? Wait until He calls, because then you’ll find joy. Remember, Kingdom work is joyful!

More on this next time. See you Monday.

We Need More Ammo

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?…If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. James 2:5, 8

Doing God’s work is filled with joy. Love your neighbor as yourself! I mean, that’s joy! It’s the royal law, the commandment of the Kingdom of God. The trumpets sound, and the King says, “Go and love.” That’s the warriors’ command from the King. The trumpets sound, and Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself, and love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

So go and love your neighbor. That’s your war cry! Leave the Kingdom walls, figure out what is wrong with your neighbors, and love on them. Don’t worry about having the means to do it. Trust God for that! When you need help, send word to the King. Tell Him, “We’re filling a need here, and we need more resources.” He’ll provide what He needs to provide.

Imagine this as if it were a movie about medieval Europe. The king’s forces have gone to war, and there’s a moment when the tide of battle seems to be turning against them. They realize, “We need more men!” What do they do? They send word to the king. What does the king do? He provides more men! When they run out of anything, they send a courier to the castle. “Tell the king we need more ammo.” Or, “Tell him we need more food.” The king sends food, ammo, or whatever his forces need.

God will provide for you. Pray, and the Holy Spirit will go to the Father and speak some words. We don’t necessarily understand what the Spirit says, but we know it means something like, “Hey, your daughter needs something.” There’s no doubt in my mind that God replies, “Go and give it to her.” He says, “My child says we need more ammo, or food, or men, or tents? That’s my child! I’ll give him or her what he or she needs.”

That’s what the Bible says. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6) Does this mean that if you ask for a million dollars, He’s going to say yes? I don’t think so. He’ll ask, “Does my son need a million, or does he want a million?” Those are two different things! But whatever you need, God will give it to you.

We can trust the King of Kings because we are His children! As members of His family, we say, “I am a part of God’s Kingdom, so I am going to go forth to fulfill the royal law. I’m going to get on my horse and go out of the gate and into the world. I’m going to love my neighbor, and when I do that, I’m going to represent the Kingdom of God.”

We go out even if we don’t have any money. We go out even if we don’t have the resources lined up. Just send word to God. Pray. Tell Him, “I need a way to get more ammo so that I can love on my neighbors. They are in need, God!” He will give you the ammo you need. Jobs will open up. Maybe a donor will come along and offer to help you. God will provide. Trust Him in this.

The Bible says we’re all royalty now, since we have heard and responded to Jesus. We are all holy and righteous. This is what God means when He says, “You are mine now.” You are His child. And as a child of the King, you are a prince or princess of the Kingdom, God’s precious child.

More on this next time. See you Thursday.

Trust Issues

When He taught, Jesus used the paradigm of the kingdom of God, because the people gathered around Him understood monarchies. We have to try a little harder to form a kingdom mentality, but we can do it because it’s in our past, and it’s in our movies. We can learn to trust that the King has made us His sons and daughters, princes and princesses of the realm. We can learn to trust that when we represent Him in the world and need help, we can send word. He will help.

Still, it seems like it can be difficult for us to trust the King. We have a lot of trust issues with our own government today. Our representatives in government are making deals without regard to morality. They’ll actually sacrifice their own morals to make sure their agenda gets done. That’s what we have in government.

No wonder we don’t understand what it means to trust. Imagine living in the 17th century and the King says to you, “Come and be my son.” What do you think someone back then would have said? “I’m in!” But now, we hesitate. Now we say, “I don’t know, I kind of like living out here, outside the gates of the kingdom.” Why? Because we see government and we don’t see trust. We don’t get trust.

So we don’t understand that we can trust God, the King.

April 3 BlogWe’ve lost so much trust that we love Jesus and thank Him for saving us, but we still struggle to trust God. We don’t trust that He accepts us as His sons and daughters. We go out into the world, but we don’t really believe that we’ll be allowed back into the Kingdom. We think God will shut the gate behind us.

We forget that we can trust the King! So we get into a works mentality. We think we have to perform for God. We’re not perfect so we sin, and then we feel like we have to cover for how we acted. “I judged somebody, so I have to read five psalms today.” Or, “I had a lustful thought, so I have to put in two extra hours at the food pantry.” Or, “I thought I was a better Christian than my neighbor, so I have to go to Nicaragua and help build a new school.”

Now fulfilling the royal law becomes work. When you start doing stuff to make yourself feel better because you sinned, then you have a works mentality. This is legalism.

If you do something in order to show people what you’ve done, you’ll be dissatisfied. You won’t feel very good when you’re done. But if you do something to help a struggling neighbor simply because you love your neighbor, you’ll feel so good and fulfilled. Your heart will be right where it needs to be.

So trust the King! And when you struggle, send word to Him. Tell Him, “I need some help here.” Trust Him. Help will come.

The Royal Law, Part 3

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well…James 2:5, 8

When Jesus described the kingdom of God, the people listening to Him understood the paradigm. Kingdoms were very common then, so they understood the mentality. Rule by kings continued in Europe until the 20th century in some places, and some parts of the world continue to have monarchies today. Americans had a revolution in the 18th century, so it’s a little harder for us to understand the paradigm. But we can do it, since it’s in our history. We can understand how kingdoms work.

Child of GodIf you use a kingdom mentality to understand the royal law, you will realize that when you accept Christ, you are no longer a pauper. You are royalty, rich in faith and an heir of His kingdom. Think about that! The King is going out, and looking over the land saying, “Whoever wants to be a part my kingdom, I’m adopting you. Now you are my son. Now you are my daughter. You are now a prince, or a princess.”

That is a really good way to live! You were poor before. You were lost. But now you’re found.

When Jesus died, He rose again. Because of what He did, the gate to the kingdom is unlocked for everyone. Because of what He did, anyone who wants to come to the King can come. The drawbridge never closes. You want to come in, come in. And when God adopts you, you don’t have to stay in the castle. You can come and go as you please.

And when you go, understand that you are holy and righteous. That is your identity. No matter where you came from, no matter who you were, you are no longer a pauper. Where you came from is over. That life is over. God gives you a new life in His kingdom, and you leave His kingdom as His son or daughter. You are a prince or princess of the realm.

People are going to ask you, “What did you have to do become a member of His family?” And you can tell them, “I simply believe what His son did for me. And I love that He’s my savior. I love that there are no strings attached. I gave my life over to Him, and I said, ‘Jesus, thank you.’ Now, because of that, the drawbridge is open. I walked in, I went before the King, and I said, ‘I’d like to be your royal child.’ And He said, ‘Come on in!’”

As His royal child, you represent God to the world. You represent His kingdom to the world. So go, and invite people in. Love on them. Encourage them. Tell them, “You can trust the King. He wants you with Him. He’s not going to destroy you. He’s not going to execute you by guillotine. He’s not going to put you in the stocks. He’s not going to treat you as a traitor or a spy. He’s going to simply love you! That’s a freeing thing!”

The Royal Law, Part 2

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well…James 2:5, 8

Love your neighbor as yourself. That is the royal law, the commandment of the Kingdom of God. The trumpets sound, and the King says, “Go and love.” That’s the warriors’ command from the King. The trumpets sound, and Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself, and then love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.”

Alright! So go love your neighbor. That’s your war cry. Go out of the Kingdom’s gates, figure out what is wrong with your neighbors, and love on them. Don’t worry about having the means to help your neighbor. Trust God for that! When you need help, send word to the King. Tell Him, “We’re filling a need here, and we need more resources.” He’ll provide what He needs to provide.

RoyalLawImagine this as if it were a movie about medieval Europe. The King’s forces have gone to war, and there’s a moment when the tide of battle seems to be turning against them. They realize, “We need more men!” What do they do? They send word to the King that they need more men. What does the King do? He provides more men!

We can use the same mentality, and show the same trust for our King. We are His children! And as members of His family, we say, “I am a part of God’s Kingdom. I am going to go forth to fulfill the royal law. I’m going to get on my horse and go out of that gate and into the world. I’m going to love my neighbor, and when I do that, I’m going to represent the Kingdom of God.”

You do this whether you already have the resources lined up or not. You begin even if you don’t have any money. Just send word to God. Pray. Tell Him, “I need a way to get more money.” He will give it to you. Jobs will open up. Maybe a donor will come along and offer to help you. Trust God in this. He will provide what He needs to provide.

The Bible says we’re all royalty now. This is what it means to be holy and righteous. This is what God means when He says, “You are mine now.” You are His child. And as a child of the King, you are a prince or princess of the Kingdom.

More on this next time. See you Monday.