Leave

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives and your father’s family and go to a land that I will show you.’ Abram departed as the Lord had instructed and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.”

I have discovered that when God calls you out, it is rarely a place of comfort.  The struggle is real.  He calls you to a place where depending on your own strength and even the strength of your family will not suffice; a place of the unknown.  He will plant in your heart just enough vision to make the leap, but that is all.  The rest of the journey is merely faith over fear.

Think about Abram.  He was seventy-five years old and had always been with his father’s family.  Their ways, their customs.  He was secure in that land with family and wealth.  Then God stepped in and said “Leave.” Abram was promised a land that God would show him.  He did not give him a specific road map as to where he was going.  But God does go on to promise him great things.

Abram’s response is simple.  He departed.  He left everything he had always known and stepped into the unknown with God.  It does not say that he wrestled with the decision for an extended amount of time and then he left.  He simply left.  He did not have a fear of the unknown because he completely knew the One leading him.  Abram did not have all of the answers but He trusted God with the outcome.

Recently, I was driving on the highway at 65 miles per hour.  I was cresting a hill and could not see the road before me.  I felt God speak to my heart, “You cannot see the road but you are not lowering your speed as to what lies ahead.  You trust the road is there and that there are no obstructions.  Why don’t you trust Me and the road I have for you? I have promised to be with you wherever you go.”  Ouch.

My husband was talking to the corporate chaplain yesterday.  He explained that I had been called to leave my job that we depend on and go on assignment for God.  He explained that we do not know how it will work on paper.  The chaplain said he and is wife had a significantly similar experience earlier in their life together.  God told them to leave their jobs and they left.  It was four months until God opened the perfect door for them.  It was even part of their heart’s desire.  He explained to my husband that in that four months, they never wanted for anything.  It was as though they were still working.

Is God asking you to leave?  Are you frightened and uncertain of what to do? 1 John 4:18 says there is no fear in love, fear involves torment.  God sees you.  He hears you.  All He wants is your complete trust and faith.  He is completely in control.  You cannot go wrong when you step out with God.  He was with Abram and He is with you too.  Joshua 1:9 says to be strong and courageous.  Do not wrestle with the decision.  Walk forward with joy! A life you never imagined possible is available to you.  All you have to do is obey.

 

A Bigger Plan

“Come,  let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages.  Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world and they stopped building the city.  Genesis 11:7-8

After the flood, God instructed Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  I find it interesting that few generations had passed and the people of Shinar were already attempting to rebel against God.  I feel that the account of the flood was passed down through the generations.  Unfortunately, this knowledge did not stop them from sin and pride.

The people gathered together at the plain of Shinar and did not act on God’s plan to fill the earth.  As a collective body, they all spoke the same language.  They devised their own plan.  They would build a city and a tower that reached the heavens.  They wanted to make a name for themselves.

Enter pride and sin.  God would remedy the situation.  You see, His plan was far greater than any plan they could contrive.  You can be assured that His plans will always come to pass.  We can choose to carry out His plans or we can force Him into action.  I have found the latter to be extremely uncomfortable and painful.

God sees that the people have united.  He is fully aware that there is no limit to the trouble that they will face if they continue on their course.  He confuses the languages.  A communication barrier.  Friends and co-workers no longer able to speak to one another.  Imagine how scary and even annoying that must have been!  I imagined myself in the worship service at church and all of the sudden everyone speaking different languages.  Confusion would ensue.  That’s exactly what happened here.  Thus the name of “the tower of Babel,” which comes from a Hebrew term meaning “confusion.”

The people could not finish the work.  This drove them apart.  They moved away to other parts of the earth.  This was God’s plan coming to pass.  Were friends lost? Yes.  Were people driven out of their security net? Yes. Was it painful to leave behind all that they knew and start over again? Yes.

See friends, had they listened to begin with, they could have saved themselves the pain.  If they had pushed away their pride (thinking you know better than God and taking credit for the accomplishments in your life) and arrogance, maybe a different outcome would have taken place.

Last year, God was specific with me about what He desired for my life.  I was so paralyzed with fear, I remained where I was and did nothing.  Two months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I feel like God allowed that to come into my life to get my attention.  Make no mistake, God did not cause the cancer, rather He allowed it.  God is good and is not the author of anything bad.

Has God been specific with you about a plan He will see come to pass?  Have you been on the fence and not sure which way to go?  Have you been filled with pride and continued full steam ahead without regard to God’s grander plan?  Please, slow down and reconsider.  This may be a message to you that God will see his plan come to pass.  He loves you completely.  He is fully trustworthy and only has the best in mind for you.  Choose His way and leave the outcome to Him.  You will find peace and rest in obedience.

Useful or Good for Nothing?

Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the sash from the place where I had hidden it; and there was the sash, ruined.  It was profitable for nothing. Jeremiah 13:7

God instructed Jeremiah to take a new linen loin cloth and wear it for a time.  God then instructed him to take it to the Euphrates River and hide it in a hole in the rock.  After some time had passed God asked Jeremiah to make the journey again to the river and retrieve the cloth.

Because it had been wet and dry repeatedly by the rising and falling of the river, it had decayed.  It was no longer useful for anything.  God likened the example to the Israelites.  They had become prideful and arrogant.  They had inter-mingled with the people of the land which they had been instructed not to do.  He said the cloth represented them clinging to God but then separating themselves, becoming defiled, rotten rags, good for nothing.

When I think about decay, a tooth automatically comes to mind.  The tooth starts out strong, brilliant white, useful for chewing food and making a winsome smile. As time progresses it becomes stained by coffee and tea.  Excessive amounts of sugar or improper care of the tooth can cause decay.  Once the tooth is decayed, no amount of brushing will remedy the situation.  If left too long it may have to be pulled and taken away from you.  Only a visit to the dentist will suffice.  He will extract the decay and fill the hole so it is made strong again and useful for chewing.

Our hearts are prone to stray.  We become prideful and arrogant, declaring that anything good in our lives has been the work of our hands. We are tainted by sinful choices.  We are stained by guilt, shame and regret.  The longer we dabble with pride and sin the more rotten and decayed we become.  We have to humble ourselves and come to Jesus. He is the only remedy we have against sin. He will come in and forgive you and fill you with his love and peace.  He will make you strong and able to withstand temptation and the trials we all face every day.  You will then be useful to carry out kingdom work.

Does your life look like a rotten loin cloth or decayed tooth today?  I can relate to where you are.  The good news is there is hope.  Hope for a second, third or fourth chance.  Don’t put it off another second! Simply pray for forgiveness, turn from your current way and allow Him to live through you to empower you to make the right choices.  He is faithful and He is able to make this happen for you.  Trust Him today.