Kill The Chaos!

Chaos is disorder, confusion, and turmoil. Sometimes we cause our own chaos. Sometimes we are thrust—reluctantly and unexpectedly—into chaotic storms created by others.

Chaos blocks everyday spiritual growth! On our spiritual pathway towards peace, we must consciously resist chaos, refusing to allow it to invade our space. And, when we are protective of those we care about, we refuse to allow chaos to engulf their lives.

Today, I lift you up in finding and sharing this solitude of the soul! Come, step into the rhythm and quietness of that peculiar peace which only God offers. As we seek to kill chaos, I invite you to look at the world through what Dr. Gardner Taylor called “God-colored glasses.” Chaos evaporates when it encounters “God’s climate.”

I was privileged to hear Dr. Taylor deliver many sermons in person. Newsweek and Time named him one of the greatest preachers in the world. The New York Times called him the “lion of the pulpit.” He was unparalleled in delivering the Gospel, the Good News, the evangelion.

One day, several years ago, I got the idea of calling Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn to ask about a particular sermon. I assumed the church had archived audiotapes of his messages. Dialing the number, I expected to reach a receptionist or answering device. Suddenly, on the other end of the phone, I heard that deep, booming, recognizable voice: “Concord, Taylor speaking!”

What?! Dr. Taylor? Answering the telephone? Too stunned to speak, confusion and utter shock set in. I hang up. Yes, I hung up on Gardner Calvin Taylor!

Despite the lingering embarrassment, I still find encouragement in Dr. Taylor’s works. He wrote: “Knowing God means, at least in part, seeing things as God sees them. Our lives must be grounded in an eternal purpose that even the fitful moods of earth otherwise cannot alter.”

That light of God’s love kills the chaos that brings ”a midnight” to our hearts. Dr. Taylor wrote: when “life is dark, murky, and foggy…This is not to say that God does not allow us our hot, fretful moods, when we pound the table before His presence, angry, feeling wronged… Our Calvary may be painful and lonely, our course rough and cruel, but God can and will heal our hurts and soothe our sorrows and turn our grief into glad hosannas.”

I have pounded the table some recently. When chaos comes sailing into your life out of some dark whirlwind, the response that kills chaos is Hope. Hope is a weapon of the soul. If chaos is a fire, Hope is the water hose. Slay it!

Kill The Chaos Post-Note

The above post is a column I wrote for the September, 2017, edition of “Nashville Christian Family.” (See www.christianfamilynashville.com) Because of the word length limit I was working on, I cut it short. For my blog readers, here is little more of how I want to encourage you.

Hope, for believers, is not merely wishful thinking. It means knowing that God is faithful, even in chaos. Hope is expecting God to fulfill all of His great promises. It is having confidence that His love will dispel every negative circumstance that paralyzes us.

Yes, bad things still happen to good people. Hope knows that God promises to right every wrong. Those with evil motives can accuse you falsely. Hope gives us strength to focus, even in chaotic times—not on how the situation looks at this moment, but upon the truth that God fights our every battle. He will have the last say.

When our faith is weak and the reason for our confidence seems gone, Hope is the solution we find in the Word. Hope guides when we don’t know what to do. Hope is the prize when it looks as if Satan, up to this moment, has won every victory.

Although David is not mentioned as the author of Psalm 42, it is distinctively his writing style. This psalm is addressed to the chief musician. I can think of nothing better to sing about than Hope for the hurt, troubled believer. When we find ourselves struggling with a crisis of courage, or with fear and doubt, this is indeed a song of deliverance. Hope in God!

Psalm 42:11 New Revised Standard Version
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

This scripture is repeated in Psalm 42:5 and 43:5.

Quotes from Dr. Gardner C. Taylor are taken from: “Faith In The Fire: Wisdom for Life,” Taylor, Gardner C., Hay House, Inc. 2011

GO DEEP, BE STRONG IN 2014

It’s that time. Once again.  (Wait, no, I’m not complaining. I’m really, really glad to be present, alive!)

The last vestiges of 2013 have washed away.  Each new wave.  Each surge of the tide. Each twist, turn and bend in the road ahead may be somewhat of a mystery, but it is God’s gift to us … to see a fresh path and to receive where it leads us.

Last year was great. So many wonderful things happened. New projects were born. Yet, ahead is a brand new year, full of opportunities. Stretching out before us, like the winding yellow brick road of Oz, is the wonderful miracle of 2014.

This could be your year.  The year that is full of untold potential. The year when all access is cleared and any obstacles that have blocked your progress are moved out of the way.

I was surprised to learn that Sheryl Sandberg is “Leaning In” to the women of China and they are hearing her message.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and author of “Lean In:  Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” gave a speech last fall in Beijing. She was there to promote the Chinese translation of her book, which has been selling briskly in China and is particularly appealing to the still minute numbers of Chinese businesswomen.

If we are to heed the voices of those who have been world changers in the past, I feel it is critical to do these things in 2014:

1.  Transform lives. Make your ideas work for others.  Like Sheryl Sandberg, don’t be reticent about sharing what you have discovered.

2.  Disconnect from the grid of being ordinary and of repeating the same old thing. Go deep, be strong, do something different.

3.  Love what you do. In fact, love your life and what  you give way, way  more than you ever have in the past. Start from where you are and build upon what matters most to you—your school, your team, your business, your friends, your family, your church, your community.

4.  Be fearless. Approach this new year, rich with things you have never seen, sprinkled with places you have never visited, and filled with tasks you never dreamed you could accomplish.

No matter what promises this year holds, know that possibilities are a part of it.

Vision is just the shape your dreams take in those moments before your faith kicks in.  Vision is how you describe the future just before you’re ready to move ahead with real conviction. And it’s okay if you approach 2014 one vision at a time

You be the solution to a problem the world has. You be that one with the key.  You be the agent of change.  Inspire trust and hope in others, then help pass it on.  You be the visionary, the achiever.

#Betheinspiration.

 

DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV)

Let’s do an experiment. Go get that special cup of gourmet coffee (or tea, if that’s more to your liking), take out a blank sheet of paper and write down the answer to this question:  who are you?  I don’t just mean your name. No, don’t just give me your bio. Who are you…really?

Here’s a bold statement: you are not who you think you are! I am struck by this fact—many of us don’t know our own worth.  If we look at the outside, we see a common vessel–a pot made of clay–we see the external you. However, the internal you is a priceless treasure. The divine light of Christ’s presence is within you. You mirror His glory; you were made in His likeness.

What makes this treasure even more valuable is that, as weak and as frail and as fragile as we may be, we carry the transforming power of God’s grace and share it by our words, our joy, our testimony and our actions.

The PBS’s documentary, “Who Do You Think You Are? With Henry Louis Gates,” highlights celebrities whose background is traced, as cameras follow. I spoke with one of the producers of that series not long ago and expressed how I appreciated their perspective on heritage. I’ve been thinking about having that kind of DNA test done that breaks down ethnicity, even geographically. What part of Africa were my ancestors from? I’ve always heard that my maternal grandfather (he died the year I was born) was Native American, as many people have said…was that true?

Bigger than the mystery of our ancestry is the awesome truth of how valuable we are to God. He bought us, He paid for us, He bankrupt Heaven…giving up His beloved Son…to buy us back to Himself. In the art world, a piece created by Pablo Picasso or Jacob Lawrence is valued based on what someone last paid for a similar piece.  Beyond that, the great God of the universe values you so highly that He paid an incredible price.

Early in the summer, I sat in the window of a fast food restaurant in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, waiting for an appointment with an Army small business specialist to begin.  I decided to use the time to read several documents I had saved on my iPad.  As it approached midday, I looked up and suddenly realized that I was surrounded by men and women dressed in fatigues.  What struck me most was the reality of who these young people are who serve in our military.

Fort Campbell is one of the world’s largest Army installations. It was lunch time. The restaurant had quickly filled with fresh-faced, fatigue-clad men and women. Should I have been surprised at how they looked like my grandchildren? Almost aloud I said, “These are our children! We send them around the world to fight for us, and they have only been in the world for two decades.”

With that vivid picture still so fresh,  the Defense Department announced statistics on military suicides.  They now cap one a day, a record high.  A few weeks ago, I passed through the book store of the airport ain Columbus, Ohio, nd picked up the July 23 issue of Time magazine.  The cover story was:  “One A Day.” The article, by Mark Thompson and Nancy Gibbs, stated that “every day, one U. S. soldier commits suicide” and went on to describe “why the military can’t defeat its most insidious enemy.”

Are these youthful soldiers returning from combat and giving up on life? Why? Perhaps it’s because no one told them who they really are.

You matter to God!  The One who created you wants you to claim the power of your identity and enjoy life…completely.  You were meant to know God, up-close and personally, serve Him by doing the work you’re created for, be joyful every day, and enjoy Him forever after this life. So, go do that.

 

4 Ways to Leap into the Future God Designed for You

Ordinarily, we would be finished with February about now. Yesterday would have been the last 24 hours in this month. But 2012 offerered the wonderful blessing of twenty-four extra hours.  It’s a bonanza! Here are some ways you can soar into March with a bound.  These four steps will give you guaranteed triumph:

  1. Lift—Elevate the name of the Lord in all you do. Every moment infused with praise becomes a moment of power.  Lifting Him connects you with the source of power you need to accomplish your life’s mission. Plug in, hook up, energize = praise God!
  2. Encourage—Lend confidence and support to someone. This is much like doing spiritual push-ups. You may not know what your life’s work is, but know this—it has something to do with benefiting, inspiring, encouraging and uplifting others.
  3. Assert—You are a chosen vessel of the Most High God.  Profess it clearly. You have a right to declare the authenticity of who you are. Claim your heritage as a King’s kid.
  4. Pray—Like lights, your prayers ascend from your lips to the very throne room of God. Even if you whisper, God leans over the edge of heaven to listen. Prayer makes a difference.

God Made You and the Sun…You’re Both Awesome!

Back in March I authored a post about God’s awesome creation, the sun.  We rarely stop to think about how incredible it is.  I (reverently) called our marvelous sun a Bad Mama Jama.

Well, just a few days ago, NASA issued a new high definition video taken from the spacecraft which has been in operation for about two years.  It photographed sun tornadoes dancing across the sun’s surface.  These solar twisters blow with unbelievable force. What is so amazing is that we can see them.


This video reminds us that everything in the universe is energy.  It is the energy that our great God created.  Please take a moment to watch this video as an awesome reminder of the greatness of our God.

You are also His creation.  Just think of the energy and power He has placed in you and available to you, as you work to accomplish remarkable things.

With your faith, you can access the awesome power of God.  Here’s how

1) Look inward. Depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit to fill and to guide you, directing every thought and action.

2) Look up. Pray; thanking God for His anointing on your life.

3) Look around. Ask God for guidance to use His power in accomplishing your assignment on earth for the benefit of others.

God is awesome, and so are you.

Photo and video:  NASA/SDO

THE OPEN DOOR

This is your year! God has plans for you to do great things in 2012.  These are the things He wants to accomplish through you.  The God Who is holy and true has set before you an open door.  Your job: take the first step; walk through the open door.  Entering in is both your spiritual privilege and opportunity.

Open Door

During the Christmas holidays we had a family movie outing.  There were enough of us to fill an entire row at the theatre, plus one.  I think my son made the choice—Mission: Impossible, Ghost Protocol, starring Tom Cruise.  It was replete with explosions of the Kremlin and impossible, hold-your-breath-while-you-watch-this stunts on the skin of a superstructure in Dubai.  And, of course, the famous words:  “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”

Today, God is speaking those words to you.  He has given you a mission; accomplishing it is your choice.

When you see that door before you, know this: He is the One who opens every door of opportunity.  Entering in means growing in grace, in passion for Christ, in commitment to doing His work in our world and in giving Him all of the glory.  Your door was opened by the God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you have ever asked of Him…or even imagined that He would do for you.  Your future is unlimited.

It is God who opens the hearts of all whose lives you are meant to touch.  He opens your mouth to utter what He gives you to say.  He unfolds your talents, like the petals of an unfurling flower. He opens your mind to create words or actions that heal and give hope.  With today’s technology, he opens the door to the world. It is breathtaking to look at the data of my Twitter followers and Facebook fan page and see people from Singapore, Pakistan, Canada, France, The Bahamas, Australia.

How marvelous are the opportunities on the other side of an open door.

When Christ opens the door, your adversaries (seen and unseen) may want to slam it in your face.  They have no power to do so. You didn’t have the strength to open it; God opened it for you.  It’s for YOU.  It’s your door.  And “what God has for you, it is for you.”  No one can shut the door.  No one can restrict your admission, they cannot remove or deny your privilege to walk right in.

He is absolutely sovereign.  That means He is God all by Himself…superior, absolute, completely in charge of door shutting and opening. The opportunities God gives are independent of the will of other people and irresistible to their power. The manner in which God opens and closes doors is untouched by anyone who wishes you a different future.  When you walk through your open door, you probably won’t even know that there has been someone who wanted to block your path.  It doesn’t matter; His plan completely overrides the power of any adversary.

Don’t let go of your dreams. As of right now, all doubt is demolished.  All of your fears are gone.  The limits that locked you out are unshackled.

The door is open wide.  The prayer on my lips today is this:  Lord, if you will, please, open whatever door is before us, allowing us to fully utilize our gifts.

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no

one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept

my word and have not denied my name.                   

                                                                                      —Revelation 3:8    

WATCHMAN, WHAT OF THE NIGHT?

Living an hour and twenty minutes from O’Hare Airport was equivalent to being within shouting distance of a front-row seat to the world.  On the down side, it sometimes required setting the alarm for four a.m.  When we would awake, after a night of sleep—or, more often, a three to four hour nap—it was time to begin our journey.  A new day was dawning.  There was work to be done, places to go, people to see; time to get moving.  And miles to go before we sleep. 

Night.  Often it is a time of perplexity, fear and apprehension.  When is night returning?  The question recorded in Isaiah 21:11 asks of the watchman, or prophet, “what of the night?”  Watchman, what prophecy do you have about this night or the next morning?

Life is like that, a flow from one interlude to the next.  For some, a morning of youth and health is followed by a night of sickness or the infirmities of age.  A morning of the familiar may be followed by a night of change.  After a long sleep in the security of the familiar, life hands you a different agenda.  What is your hope in the new day that dawns?

Over the last two years, I have lived a life of transition.  I moved from a life in which all my questions were answered and the difficult prophecies were interpreted for me—to a new place.

My transition into a new life has actually been sequential.  The first year, I began the process of sorting my husband’s life’s work—his papers and writings.  I packed for a long-distance move and put my consulting business in temporary hiatus.  The “me” who loved jetting to D.C. for meetings at the Pentagon suddenly vanished.  I had a waning enthusiasm for being the feisty, independent entrepreneur I had been for twenty-five years. I needed a quiet place to sit and think.  Going to bed at night knowing people supported their families based on decisions I made had become burdensome.

The passing of my husband’s physical presence radically altered the landscape of my life.  Indeed, the spiritual climate of everything around me changed.  The night, the darkness, the change was a life without the priest of my house, the king of my family.

It had been my privilege to walk alongside a great man of God in the service of His people for forty-one years of ministry and fifty years of friendship.  His array of pulpit gifts were shining.  Even after the space of two years, I still contemplate how enormous, indeed, has been my loss. Knowing that I could call him or simply turn to him and ask him anything was comforting, sustaining and steadying. I knew that he was there.

His life was an epic—a golden tale woven by God Himself.  I am confident today that Floyd Prude’s marvelous gifts of preaching, teaching and leadership were directly connected to how much he was willing to give up for the cause of Christ.  He was willing to give up everything!  Jesus’ parable of the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45-46) had a profound influence on the ministry we shared.  We heard that passage preached eloquently many years ago by the late Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Sr.

As someone who has loved the preached word since I was a teenager, I was blessed by our shared life; it was a great and marvelous experience.  Floyd was president of preaching.  As the angel of God’s church, the pulpit was his platform and he made it ring with the good news and glad tidings of God’s Word.  Above all, when he mounted the steps of the pulpit, paramount in his mind was that Christ be lifted up and that he would disappear.

He took preaching seriously.  In that sacred place, the holiness of the Lord would so shine through His presence was all one could see.  My prayer is to adopt Floyd’s legacy; if I am nothing, then Christ can be everything.

In this new space, I am honored to know that God still directs our affairs. He has seen fit to give me a new assignment.  For many years, at pastoral anniversary time, Walter Ingram would set the keys of the baby grand piano afire with sounds of the hymn, God of our fathers, whose Almighty hand.  God’s hand guides.

Isaiah recorded the question, “What of the night?” and the watchman’s answer was this:  “the morning comes, and also the night.”  You made it through the night without any harm.  The light of a new day is coming.  Nevertheless, there will be occasion for further inquiries.  We will need to continue to ask God what to do.

I have so many grave and solemn considerations at this time…and so many sublime and splendid recollections.  I’ve been given a universal message of healing, fearlessness and joy.  My job is to get it out to the universe.  Heal the world.  Change lives, reach millions of people.

We can face any night with the great words of Jude’s marvelous benediction:

24 Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

THE LESSON OF THE DRESS

The Christmas following my sixteenth birthday, I bought the prettiest dress I have ever owned— off-the shoulder, silver lamé, tapered sleeves—it was the bomb.  Thanks to my sister, Lois, here it is.  She saved this photo of me coming down the stairs in our home in Ohio wearing my sparkling find.

Stronger than my memory of how I liked this dress is remembering an important life lesson from my mother.

It took me weeks to finish paying for that dress.  This was back in the day when every store had layaway. One day, I calculated the balance and realized I came up a little short. My strategy was pretty much limited to convincing my aunts and uncles to give me Christmas money instead of gifts.

That was also the year when I met the wonderful young man who became my husband and best friend for life.  Our friendship was the object of my lesson. We had been dating casually for about three months. In fact, in this picture, he was taking me to a Christmas party.

Silver lamé? At a teen house party, you ask?  Was I a little overdressed?  Maybe, but it was an early version of me being me.  Besides, that’s not the object of my story.

Suddenly, my problem was solved.  When I mentioned my intended purchase to my new friend, he offered the perfect solution.  He would give me the money as a Christmas gift.  After all, Floyd was one of a few friends with a job. He was two years older and had just graduated from high school; he had both a job and a cool car.

The mistake I made was sharing this marvelous plan with Mom.  Such a perfect idea.  It never occurred to me that my mother would object.  “No, I don’t think so,” she said.  “That is not appropriate at all.  I want you to know that a Lady never accepts money from someone who is not her husband.”

You had to have known Linnie Cordelia to visualize her stopping whatever she was doing at the time to stare at me—just pretend you can hear the emphasis she put on her words. Her answer was firm; she was serious.  This was non-negotiable.  I was a junior in high school, so, obviously, I was not considering marriage.  My mother’s answer, then, boiled down to one word:  No!

I grew to appreciate my mother for not missing this teaching moment.

The reason I begged my sister to dig out this picture was to remember that simple lesson.  It all came back because of news stories that have appeared since this summer about bright young college women, called “sugar babies,” who get tuition and bills paid by wealthy men, “sugar daddies.” The stories appeared on the television networks and in a riveting article by Amanda M. Fairbanks in The Huffington Post. A few young women spoke on camera with their identities protected.  They told stories that broke my heart, admitting how sad these arrangements have made them.

These cash-strapped young women obviously didn’t have a mother like mine to share important, pivotal lessons of character and Christian morals.  No one warned them of the potential for ultimate danger (violence, manipulation), the risks (physical, emotional and mental) or the high price (depression, low self-esteem) that they may eventually pay for finding a convenient financial solution in the wallet of an internet stranger.  In many cases, the stranger is probably someone else’s husband—but that’s another blog post about a much deeper moral issue.  They do not understand the danger of compromising standards that make them whole, balanced, strong and self-confident.

The missing lessons are what makes me sad.  It’s difficult for our children to know what the important standards are unless someone teaches them.  The mantra of too many young people today—and, sadly, for more than a few of their mothers—matches the lyrics of a song, “get all you can…and can all you get.”

One of my most astonishing moments as a pastor’s wife occurred when a woman spoke these words to me about her granddaughter:  “She has a boyfriend, and he is fine!”  It was as if that occurrence was the first and only thing that qualified her granddaughter as a legitimate person who was fulfilling her real purpose in life.  I resisted the urge to scream and fall out backwards.

Those of us who influence young people need to take advantage of every opportunity to teach them holiness.  We need to interject those small, gentle, timeless lessons of faith and values.

NIGHTSONG–HEARING GOD’S VOICE IN THE DARK

“Ye shall have a song, as in the night … and gladness of heart…
and the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard…
Isaiah 30:29-30

Nightsong

How is it possible to encounter the will of God?  We so often pray…”Thy will be done.”  Yet, the words have little depth for us.  We repeat them mechanically and thoughtlessly, without any real consideration for their meaning.

Do we really allow God’s will to prevail in our lives?  More important, do we really want to know His will for us?

God speaks.

He tells us the path we are to take.  In order to hear Him, we must understand how He speaks and understand the Heavenly language that He uses.  We must know how to listen and what to listen for.  God speaks in the language of the Spirit. And, when we listen, we hear in our spirits.

One night, I was perplexed about what direction my work should take.  In the middle of that dark night, I fell to my knees, earnestly seeking God’s face. When I got back into bed, I fell asleep instantly; but, suddenly, as if someone had snapped their fingers, I was wide awake. I heard the audible voice of the Lord. It was articulate, rich, all-knowing; it was God. His voice was not outwardly perceptible within the room, but I heard Him in my spirit.  The communion was one of openness of spirit, Spirit to spirit.  I had found the door through which God enters our presence, communes with our thoughts, and personally speaks to us.  God comes and speaks at those moments when we are urgently pleading for an answer, when we are completely willing to hear.

I was not alone in the room that night when God spoke. My husband lay sleeping right beside me. Yet, I am the only one who heard that Voice.  It was almost like the Apostle Paul’s experience on the Damascus Road when he alone heard the Lord’s voice.  The reason is that the Voice addressed Paul’s spirit, and he heard God within.  So did I; He came for my specific situation.

What God said is this:  “Of all those born on the earth, you are the only one chosen to do this work. If you do not do it, it will not be done.”

In God’s eyes, we are each one-of-a-kind.  We each have only one life, only one opportunity to live in service to God and the people we are destined to help on this earth.  There is no one who can do exactly what you can do.

God never explained to me specifically what He wanted me to do, but whatever this special thing is—I am the one to do it.  And it is work.  This is not a gift He was giving me, but something I am giving to Him.

The startling thing about the Lord’s words to each of us is the uniqueness of who you are!  He chooses you for His work; He gives you the skills you need and expects you to bring all of your passion to the table.  Then, He reminds you that He has no one else in mind to do it. If you and I come up short, many people will miss something very special.

For every Christian, our work is to build up God’s Kingdom, to spread the good news of His love.  It is, expressly, to do God’s work in the universe.  To be God’s heart, hands, feet and voice.  Every day that we seek Him, we are asking Him to show us what that work is.

It is the Lord’s song in the night that empowers us for the task of tomorrow. May we never call it a night until our work is done.


CHOSEN FOR THE WORK

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

Ephesians 1:11 NIV

There was a sudden sadness that I felt…as did so many others…when it was announced that Steve Jobs was leaving his post as Apple CEO.  How would Apple…trend-setter of so much that we enjoy today…get along without him?

Steve Jobs is known as a hands-on leader, pivotal in the decisions that made Apple one of the greatest companies of all time.  I appreciate his creative enthusiasm for Great Work, his commitment to his assignment on earth. I’m certain he felt somehow chosen to be the enormous influence on technology that he is.

Kate Harper, a gift designer in Berkeley, California, posted one of her designs on Facebook after the news. Kate presented a “free to steal” graphic of an inspiring Steve Jobs quote that deserves a prominent place near your work site. To me, if you’re not going to do Great Work, you’re shamming your gift.

The interesting thing about Great Work is that it keeps evolving.  If you’re like me, your assignment may change relevant to factors like timing and geography.

Whether you accomplish your life’s assignment using a violin, a stethoscope, a hammer and chisel or a computer keypad, do it with gusto.  Trust your instincts to know what your calling is and when you must accomplish it.  God is a terrific gift-Giver; He implanted within you all the necessary skills and resources. And also, He will provide the needed human connections and opportunities.

What impedes most of us are these two obstacles:  procrastination and fear of failure or embarrassment.  We stall, we delay, we put off starting a task we know we ought to do. We let treasured moments wane like fading rays of sunlight. We fear rejection of our ideas, terror at what others might say or do.

Sometimes our assignments look intimidating; that’s when we begin to catalog our impediments. We don’t have enough, we don’t know enough.  We’re too young, too old, too poor, too weak, too frail, too late, too busy, too unappreciated and life’s too short.  Our irrational fears may be confirmed if we listen to the assignment bullies. Their words are similar to those of Bildad, one of Job’s friends, when he lamented to Job:

for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,

and our days on earth are but a shadow.

Job 8:9 (Message Bible)

 

If I spoke to Steve Jobs, I would say this: at every stage in life, God has a plan and a path of His own choosing. Whatever that new path is, it is not a random one. With or without his famed creativity and visionary magician’s flare—if it involves work, whatever Steve Jobs does next will be above and beyond stellar. And I’d say I’m praying for his healing and strength.

May everything that the great God of the universe implanted in each of us be birthed in the Great Work we do. Touching lives, changing the world, creating genius, imagining the unimaginable and, like Steve Jobs, helping people do things they didn’t even know they wanted to do.