Tribe Life

Tribe. Community. Clan. Those people in your life who help you, support you and love you. Sometimes these are people you share DNA with and sometimes they are people God brings into your life. These are the people you call when you’re excited about a new job and, when your angry over how you were treated. Your tribe, your community, love fiercely and together you create this beautiful jigsaw puzzle as you fit together in life.

Nehemiah had a vision to rebuild the walls around his beloved Jerusalem. The walls of this once strong city has been torn down by various enemies and it was breaking his heart. Obviously, Nehemiah couldn’t rebuild these walls alone so he prayed, followed God’s plan and activated his tribe. The more people heard about what they were doing, the more came to join in the work. The more attention they drew, the more the enemies took notice.

Once word spread about what Nehemiah was up to, the enemies started to swarm. They attempted to block the rebuilding project through the officials in the area. When that wasn’t going to work, they resorted to violence to stop the vision of Nehemiah. The last thing the opposition wanted was for Nehemiah to succeed and rebuild Jerusalem. 

Nehemiah had to pull together a strategy that revolved around tribe life. Tribe life is simply people doing whatever is needed to protect and support each other. Nehemiah’s tribe didn’t have to fully understand his vision or even have the vision themselves, they were committed to him and their community. That’s the beauty of tribe, it’s based on love and honor for each member and nothing else. If I think of my tribe, we all have different callings and visions of our future and, we all fight for and support each other. No comparison. No jealousy. No envy. 

Tribe does what has to be done to help each other. These next few verses clearly show how Nehemiah’s tribe stood for each other.

Nehemiah 4:16 …half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats…

Nehemiah 4:17-18 …each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had has sword strapped at his side while he built.

Wow! Talk about community! While some built, others protected. Where there weren’t enough people, some worked AND protected themselves. They did whatever was necessary to help Nehemiah’s vision come to pass. They fiercely stood against the enemy and would not allow for defeat. This is tribe life. But it gets even better!

Nehemiah 4:20 In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.

When things got too hard, attacks too large, they sounded a trumpet, came together, prayed and watched God fight for them and defeat the enemy. They had rings of defense in place to make certain the vision of a rebuilt and protected Jerusalem would become reality. They weren’t trying to go it alone and they weren’t trying to go without God. Nehemiah knew that in order for his dream to come to pass, he needed help from both people and God. 

You need people around you who will support you, protect you and pray with you. The number of people doesn’t matter, just one person as your tribe has power. If you don’t have anyone, start praying and asking God to send you people. Tribe life is scary because you become vulnerable but, without vulnerability you cannot feel deep connection and support. Your vision and call need other people to help make it happen and so does your life in general. Step out in faith and ask God to show you areas where you may keep people at arms length and then, ask Him to bring people into your life you can trust to help you move forward. 

Shalom,

KA

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By Faith: Sacrifice

Sacrifice. I don’t know about you but that word just makes me grimace and squirm a little. It’s never fun or easy to give up something we really love. If we’re being honest, major sacrifice is one of those things God shows us is His character to request, Jesus tells us we need to do, and we think He’all never ask of us. I’ve heard, and said, these words, “God wouldn’t ask me to give that up.” Truth is, He might.

Abraham, dear Abraham. What an example of living by faith in the face of major sacrifice. Here he finally has his son Isaac by his wife Sarah. A promise fulfilled that in all honesty they never thought would actually happen. Isaac IS the promise for Abraham and all of the generations coming. I’m certain each day is a day of worship and praise at just hearing Isaac breathe. And then He hears God ask him to do the unthinkable.

Sacrifice Isaac. “…offer him as a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:2). Can you even imagine that conversation between God and Abraham? Oh how I wish the Bible elaborated just a little more on what was going through Abraham’s heart and mind. I would have been so angry and confused at the mere suggestion. How dare God ask such a huge sacrifice! Doesn’t God understand who Isaac is? Doesn’t God understand what it means to be a father? My sanctified imagination pictures Abraham pacing back and forth, arms flailing about and hot tears running down his face as he had to face what it means to live by faith. 

Genesis 22:8 gives us the glimpse into the heart of Abraham. As Isaac is walking with his dad, clearly feeling confused about what they are going to sacrifice, Abraham says “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering,”. Abraham is fully committed to sacrificing his son to follow God and he knows that no matter what, God is going provide all that is needed for the moment. Hebrews 11:10 tells us “He considered the God was able to even raise him from the dead,”. Wow! I want this faith, faith that is going to follow God no matter what believing fully that He is providing all that is needed. 

Jesus also talked about sacrifice. Jesus himself was the ultimate sacrifice, so His whole life shows us that we have to hold our lives lightly. I also think of his encounter with the rich, young ruler who followed the law to the letter but couldn’t stand the idea of letting go of his money. That sacrifice was too high a price for him and he went away sad. Jesus never made it a secret that sacrifice was a requirement of following Him. Even more, He made a promise that everything we sacrifice will be given back beyond what was actually sacrificed. (Luke 9:24, Luke 18:28-30)

Sacrifice isn’t easy and God doesn’t treat it lightly. He knows our hearts better than we do. He’s also sacrificed His Son in order to have a relationship with us so He gets the pain involved. Sacrifice is how we remove the things that get between us and God. God sees what we hold tighter than Him and then He invites us deeper into relationship with Him by asking us to sacrifice that thing. Sacrifice becomes the doorway to deeper intimacy with God. 

What are you holding on to, unwilling to sacrifice it to walk closer with God? God will never force you to make a sacrifice but, He will provide invitation and opportunity because His ultimate desire is to walk closely with you. I would encourage you to pray for wisdom and comfort as you hold your life lightly.

Shalom,

KA

By Faith: Longing

Hebrews 11:13 -14 create a pause in the story of the heros of faith. At first glance these verses feel like a downer and yet, if you stop and soak them in, you get a larger sense of faith. 

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city. – Hebrews 11:13-14

So, here’s the down side of faith: you may not get to see what you have faith for be realized here on earth. Faith is about heaven on earth so the focus is eternal while the current circumstances are temporal. Healing. Finances. Ideas. Reconciliation. Living by faith means longing for heaven even though we are physically here on earth. Living by faith is challenging and honestly, can just be downright painful. 

One of the many things I love about God is free will. In verse 15, God shows us clearly that we have the freedom and opportunity to return to where we came. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to go back! I don’t want to be in darkness anymore, I love the light too much. So, I stay focused on heaven and the power God has to answer my requests. I know that I may not get to see all that my faith is desiring and, I’m ok with that because I long for heaven. 

When we live by faith, focused on the eternal, God leads us deeper into relationship with Him. His promise of an eternity with Him, in His presence forever, is what drives a life of faith. Without faith, we will never see God move because it’s simply not possible. It is small faith that opens the door to God’s power which then allows us to increase our faith going forward. Think of faith in terms of running. You don’t get up one day and run a marathon. You first make the decision you want to run a marathon and then you make a plan that involves training. You start with short distances and work your way up. Faith is the same. Don’t get discouraged when faith is hard, just stay committed to the processes and focused in the end result.

God will never fail you, never. Be honest in your circumstance and how much faith you can give to Him, He will meet you where you are and bless what you give. Living by faith isn’t about the outcome, it’s about the transformation. You will be changed by your faith in God whether or not you receive what you are hoping for. 

Shalom,

KA

By Faith:A Way of Life


As I’ve been writing about faith lately, God has been walking me into deeper faith. Faith that goes beyond just the big things in life into the daily challenges. 

Faith isn’t easy. It isn’t some pithy saying on a mug that encourages us to hold on. Faith is bloody, bruised and ugly. Faith is the walk up the hill to Golgotha, beaten beyond recognition, carrying your own cross. Faith is everyone has left you but a few. Faith is nails in your hands and feet. Faith is searing pain and fighting to breathe until you can’t anymore. Faith is silent wondering and confusion. Faith is glorious resurrection and an empty grave. 

Faith is something you have to fight to have and fight to hold on to. Faith is a decision to keep walking when the pain is so intense you can’t think. Faith is believing in a hope that there is a God who is in love with you and is in control when all around you life is falling apart. Faith is a decision and a commitment.

Faith in God will never be the wrong choice. God is not a liar and His word says we can trust Him in all things and at all times. He is never gone. He is always present and always involved. He is in love with us and always seeking our best. He is a loving and good Father. He is a beautiful and blessed Savior. He is a gentle and powerful helper. He is what we have faith in and, He is what makes faith possible.

Faith is not a decision made once. You make a choice to live by faith over and over. Faith is a way of life.

Shalom,

KA

By Faith: Possible

Possible: able to be accomplished. That’s such a simple word and simple definition but man, believing something is possible can be one of the hardest things in the world to do. In most situations, we are able to come up with a long list of all the reasons why something isn’t possible. Once we’ve done that, we typically toss the situation out and label it “impossible”. Then sadness, doubt and hopelessness set in and we completely forget that God has already told us nothing is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37). 

Now let’s be super clear, just because all things are possible for God does not mean He is a genie in a lamp granting wishes. In most situations when your 5 year old child asks for candy right before bed you say no. Are you able to give them candy? Sure. Is it in their best interest for you to give them candy right befor bed? Not really. God is able but He is discerning and loving and will always put what’s best for us first.

On the flip side, and this is where we will spend some time today, God saying “yes” to what appears an impossible situation will always beat our list of why something can’t happen. God isn’t bound by time, science or nature; God is miraculous. Hebrews 11:11 reminds us of an amazing impossibility that became a miracle for Sarah and Abraham.

In Genesis 17, Abraham is promised a son, Isaac. Abraham’s response was classic: laughter and disbelief. He immediately looked at the “facts” and laughed God off. He was old and Sarah was old and up to this point she had bore no children so to receive a word directly from God that Isaac was on his way was absurd. How many times have you laughed off or dismissed something you felt God was telling you because you stayed in the natural realm instead of changing your focus to heaven? 

In Genesis 18, Sarah overheard a conversation between Abraham and some guests. These guests weren’t your ordinary guests and they prophesied to Abraham that in a year’s time, Sarah would have a son. A confirmation of what Abraham had already heard. Again comes laughter! Sarah, busy making dinner, laughs off this message because of the absurdity. I love her response in Genese 18:12, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” Can you hear your own sarcastic responses to God in Sarah’s words? I sure can. 

What happens next in Genesis 18 is the moment of truth. The guest, hearing Sarah laugh, say, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Ouch! Yikes! There is such profound weight in this question. If you are going to live by faith, this is a central question to your life. Are you able to believe Jesus when He told His followers (this includes us) that all things with God are actually possible? Are you able to push aside the list of why things won’t work and focus on the One who is able to make all things work? God can handle your doubt, just don’t let your doubt stop you from having faith.

Hebrews 11:11 ends with some beautiful words that truly do define living by faith, “she considered faithful who had promised”. Look, God is absolutely going to put you in situations that seem hopeless and impossible. Living by faith means facing those situations knowing that God is faithful and that He already has a way ready for you, you just have to keep believing and keep moving. We so often miss our miracles because we lose our faith. We quit before we allow God to unfold his beautiful plan to its fullest extent. And typically, instead of taking responsibility for our choice to quit, we blame God and we lose faith. 

Here is God’s invitation: it’s possible, will you trust Me? When you know you are following where God is leading, can you disengage your earthly thinking and engage your heavenly vision and like Sarah, consider God faithful to His word? Living by faith actually means living by faith. Faith that it doesn’t have to make sense when it’s God’s call. He has it mapped, you just need to keep moving. God will never fail you and that makes you free to live by faith.

Shalom,

KA

The Silencing of Sexual Assault and Abuse **not graphic**

Over the past week, we have seen lots of stories coming out of Hollywood regarding the way women are treated in the film and television industry. There has been a dark cloud hanging over this industry of inequality in pay and roles and now, clear and factual revelation of sexual abuse and abuse of power. All of these issues make me sad and angry for the obvious reasons, they are unfair and disgusting. But my heart is having a harder time processing the comments made about these stories. Comments like, “Why didn’t these women say something right away?”, or “If it was that big of a deal at the time of the abuse, they would have told someone”. These types of thoughts are why women don’t say anything, because they are dripping with doubt right off the bat. The truth is, when people are traumatized and abused, they often find the smallest spark of strength to tell someone and the first person they tell, usually someone they trust, snuffs out the spark with questions and comments that relay a message a doubt in the person telling their story. For many people, me being one of them, that sends the strongest message that it is not safe to tell and, that though I was the victim I must have played a part and therefore my abuse and trauma hold no weight.

When I was 14 years old I lived in Anchorage, AK with my mom. In her group of friends was a man her age who was the boyfriend of my mom’s roommate. I knew him well, he was in our home all the time. I felt totally safe around him and had nothing but good experiences. He was funny and kind and really just what I thought of a really great guy. 

I left Alaska after a year and then went back once I graduated high school at the age of 17. I was excited to see my old friends and get reacquainted. My mom didn’t have a roommate anymore, but her circle of friends hadn’t changed. So I started looking people up and going to visit. I went to visit the friend I had known a few years previously and I was so excited! I went to his office at work and we got all caught up. It was great, just like old times. Then something shifted.

I got up to leave, feeling like our visit was over, and he walked over and shut his office door. He came over and gave me a hug, pinning me to the desk. He then proceeded to tell me how much I had changed and how pretty I was, what a beautiful woman I had become. In his office, in a public space, he woo’d me and assaulted me. His words sounded so loving but his actions were so violent. I left feeling almost drunk and numb. I couldn’t wrap my brain around what had happened. The dichotomy between his words and the tone of his voice and his actions with his body left me traumatized and confused.

I remember driving around for a while in a fog. I had no ability whatsoever to process what had just happened. The first person I told was my mom because who else would or could I tell? I don’t know what I was expecting but I know that the reaction I got silenced me and shut me down completely. I remember she kind of looked at my strangely, got a little put-off and said, “Well, what did you expect? You’re not a kid anymore, you’re almost 18 years old. You should have known that you have changed a lot and that he would notice.” Silence. Darkness. Deeper trauma.

Two decades later I had a similar situation happen with a friend. His words were loving and kind and I trusted him. We laughed and joked and had fun, until we didn’t. The words and the actions didn’t align and I felt myself transported back to the 17 year old as I was again sexually assaulted and again left stupified. Only this time I didn’t tell anybody. This time I had all the language I needed to place the blame solely on my shoulders and bottle it up. Silence. Darkness. Deeper trauma.

God is so good though. He brought me to a small group almost 30 years after my first trauma and in that safe space, I was able to share both encounters and the people around me were able to speak light into that darkness. They helped me see that in both cases I was the victim and held no responsibility. Wow! Voice. Light. Freedom. Healing. All of those years, carrying that heavy weight, and God took the load off of me. 

Here’s the deal, when someone tells you they have been assaulted or abused, don’t ask them to prove it. Listen. Ask what they need. Ask how you can help. Just be present. Whatever they need, do it. Encourage them to get help. I don’t believe my mom meant to add trauma, I believe she thought she was trying to help me. But what I needed was an advocate, because a couple hours after a trauma is not a teaching opportunity. Women, and I’m certain men as well, lose their voices easily so don’t for one second discount the abuse just because they didn’t scream what happened from the rooftops right after it happened. It’s not that simple so don’t ever even entertain that the abuse wasn’t traumatic just because no one called the police. Every time that gets spoken or written, another victim stays in silence.

If you carry the weight of uspoken abuse, will you please seek help. Seek out a friend. Seek out a pastor or priest. Seek out anyone you think can support you. If you don’t have anyone, please go to http://www.rainn.org and they will help you find someone in your area to speak with and it is predominately free. Don’t carry this burden any longer because it as never your burden to carry. Please invite God into the pain with you, He wants so much to bring healing.

Shalom,

K

Your Story Brings His Glory

“Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His place.” 1 Chronicles 16:23-27

I’m pretty much obsessed with storytelling. A good story can suck you in and keep you help tight for hours! I think most of us have casually picked up a book and then, in what feels like minute, we notice 4 hours have passed and we simply couldn’t stop reading because the story was so awesome!! Storytelling can change your life both as the teller and the listener. The power of story is beyond what we can fathom. God started telling the story of the earth thousands (maybe in even millions) of years ago when He spoke creation into existence and from all I see throughout the Bible, He will speak us all for eternity. 

There are hundred, probably thousands, of verses that tell us to “proclaim His salvation”, or some version of that decree. There are all kinds of ways to proclaim how amazing God is but I truly believe the most powerful way is in telling our story. The story of your life, how you encountered God, how He has helped you, rescued you, sustained you, these elements are how you proclaim Jesus. Your story is either bumpy or smooth and in either case, you can and will praise Him when you share. 

For me, I lived most of my first 40 years very compartmentalized and in silos. It was my defense mechanism. I would try to figure out what everyone wanted or expected of me and then be that person from them in a type of vacuum. Always being careful to not let some people cross paths because they knew me as very different people. Trying not to disappoint anyone or tip my hand in any way so as to stay off the radar. I had no idea who I actually was or what I was created to be, it mattered more that I appease people. I was a liar, a storyteller for the wrong reasons. I hid addiction and abuse because it didn’t want to rock any boats, and let’s just be honest, I enjoyed having secrets. The truth was, I was in such darkness that I was terrified of the light.

Then God broke through. He shined His light into the darkest corners and I couldn’t bear to go any further into darkness any longer. I couldn’t stand the compartments because God started showing me all that He created me for and I wanted to be near Him and fulfill His call on my heart. So, I started getting help, started tearing down the walls and started sharing my story. Sharing my story helped me move more and more into the light and with each step, my walls came down. I’m so thrilled to say now that I live to please God and God alone now. I have no compartments, I’m just a singular space filled with Jesus. Sharing my story has been part of how Jesus redeemed my story. My story brings His glory.

You may not have a story with a rock bottom. My daughter is a teenager and she has said to me many times that she never wants a rock bottom moment in her life’s story. She worries that she’ll be perceived as boring and I assure her, she is anything but boring! Her story will reflect how you can live a life dependent on God and He will sustain, guard and strengthen you so that your feet don’t stumble. Her story will bring His glory.

We all need your story. We need it for encouragement and for identification so that we don’t feel so alone. God needs your story! He’s been central in your life even when you didn’t choose to acknowledge Him. He needs you to tell others about how He has woven your story together so that you can change the world around you. He may not call you to standon the street corner sharing scripture, but He has called all of us to share our encounters with Him. That’s the Great Commission! Go, and as you are going and moving, make disciples and the best way to do that is to talk about what you know the best: your story.

Here’s my last encouragement about your story: own it. Face your trauma, clear out the shame and the darkness and own it all. Own the ups and own the downs because all of it together is lovely and beautiful and MORE than able to bring glory to Jesus. If you need counseling, get it. When you process the scary stuff, face it. You won’t share your story if you feel shame about it so process the shame and let God remove it. Trust me, He will replace shame with acceptance if you let Him. I know this first hand. Your story of how God rescued, redeemed or sustained you is your greatest weapon against the enemy and hell. 

Your story brings His glory. Trust Him and share it. 

Shalom,

KA

By Faith: The Journey

Do you ever wish the journey of your life was easier? When we go through seasons that are challenging, I think we can have a tendency to wonder if God is punishing us when really, He’s just transforming us. I don’t know about you, but I have many times wished the process of transformation wasn’t a process but instead, a moment. I want the hope and faith Paul talks about in Romans 5:3-4 without the suffering and the perseverance. Yet, we all know that in nearly all cases, the suffering and need for faith now allows us to go through seasons in the future that without the history, we would never be able to keep going through. Challenges in your journey today sets you up for deeper faith in God tomorrow. 

It’s clear to me that we all need to study Abraham and his faith just based on how much of Hebrews 11 is based on his journey with God. In Hebrews 11:9 we see how Abraham held fast to his faith and on the promise of God during as he an his family became nomads on their way to their promised land. What I know to be true about God is that He is always able to get us where we need to go, we just need to live by faith. Our faith starts to waver when our vision for how our lives should go is different then the way God is actually moving us.

Let me share a quick story about my journey and how my plan and God’s plan were different. I started drinking alcohol when I was around 13 years old. As you can imagine, it quickly became a go-to for me when life was tough so by the time I hit adulthood, it was an unhealthy “safety” net. I had learned really early in life how to hide it and handle it but in reality, the addiction new how to keep hidden and keep in control. My mom, who was a central figure in my life, died suddenly and I had no coping mechanism to handle the pain and anger so I drank more. The addiction again kicked into stealth mode and I kept it hidden from my close friends and family. I begged God over and over to just heal me, just release me from the addiction and every time He said no. See, we both knew that He could absolutely end the pain and release the addiction, but He knew I would just go back to it the next time I had a challenge. I wouldn’t grow in faith, I would grow in dysfunction. 

In April of 2010, God added a massive twist to my journey and I was arrested on a suspicion of a DUI. I was devastated and even more angry at God. I couldn’t believe that He would let this happen when all along He could have just released me! Then a few months later, I had a massive panic attack that landed me in the ER. After some tests on my heart, the doctor told me that there was a small space that had stopped being able to beat and it was causing issues. She told me that if I didn’t quit drinking, my heart would quit working. Again I begged God to release me and move me to a better place and He wouldn’t. He wanted my life, I just wanted a quick fix. Finally, I gave in, gave up and gave it all to God. He swooped in like a rushing wind, released me from addiction, got me on a path to healing and I’ve never been the same. I held on to the promise that God spoke over me through Isaiah 54 and He brought me where He wanted me to be. I have moments still, 6 years later, that cause me want to drink and yet, I continue to hang on tight to God and am able to say that I have never given in to the temptation.

So, what does that all have to do with Abraham? The journey. You have to get to a point where you trust the One directing your steps so that when the journey seems long, hard and maybe even useless, you can live by faith and trust He is working out His promise over you. Abraham had received a promise from God in Genesis 12:1-3. God promised to give him a land of his own, to make him a great nation, to make his name great, and to bless not only his life, but the lives of everyone who blessed him. This promise was what empowered Abraham to move out and leave his family. It was also what empowered him to keep moving when he and his clan lived in several places on their way to God’s promised land as nomads and strangers just passing through. I’m certain there were times that Abraham looked up to the stars and doubted or wondered if he was on the right path. But, he never turned around, he stayed focused on the One who called him out and the One who made the promise of more.

Does your journey feel hard or useless? Are you wondering what on earth God is doing and feeling like you can’t go on? Please don’t quit, don’t stop and don’t lose heart. God may have unexpected twists and turns in your journey and you need to believe they are necessary for your ability to live by faith. Think of all we would have missed out on if Abraham had given up. You may not understand why things are happening they way they are and that’s ok, just keep focused on Jesus. Your challenges today set up for deeper faith tomorrow.

Shalom,

KA

By Faith: Obedience


Obedience can be challenging under the best conditions when it totally makes sense, like being obedient to the laws of the road. This obedience keeps us safe and alive so sure, we may not like stopping a stop sign when we think no one else is around, but we do it just in case there is a blind spot. Obedience when it is to a call from God and doesn’t make sense, that is a whole new ball game.

Hebrews 11:8-10 gives us a look at one of the all-time most obedient people throughout the entire bible…Abraham. Abraham was astounding in his life and living by faith, in my opinion. He believed God on some radical calls and promises and we only see him truly frustrated and wavering in faith when he took matters into his own hands. And yet, even when he messed things up, he brought himself back around to obedience to God, and God blessed him beyond all he could imagine. In this first look at Abraham, the writer of Hebrews shows us radical obedience when it didn’t make sense.

Flip to Genesis chapter 12 for the original account of Abraham, back then known as Abram’s, obedience. Abram and his family were doing just fine, living life in typical fashion. In our first introduction to Abram, God calls him to not only leave his family land, but to leave his actual family. Abram is 75 years old, set in his ways, and God shakes it up. He doesn’t tell him exactly where to go, He simply says to pack it all up and head out. He then gives an outrageous promise, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2) One verse later we read that Abram pulled together his family, including his nephew Lot’s family, and they took off. No argument. No excuses. Just obedience. Can you imagine how the rest of his family reacted? I’m relatively certain they thought he was nuts.

Obedience is personal because the call of God is personal. While there are some expectations in how we are to live that go across the board, how we fulfill our reason for being created is individualistic. God places opportunities and invitations in my path that He doesn’t necessarily place in yours and vice versa. We are each responsible for being obedient to God’s voice. Now, one of the many things I love about God is that He doesn’t push or punish us when we express reluctance. Living by faith acknowledges the challenge of obedience and then does it any ways because we know it’s the right thing to do.

A few years ago my daughter and I were at church and we were just mingling after the service. She came up to me and said she felt God asking her to go talk to a woman and tell her she was loved. She was nervous, who wouldn’t be? Talking to strangers isn’t always easy and going up to them with a word from God feels doubly hard. I simply told her to be obedient. She followed God’s call on her life for that moment and in the end, the woman hugged her, cried and told her that she needed that message. Beautiful!! God can do whatever He wants and, He chooses to work through us. Wow!

Obedience changes the atmosphere for the here and now and, it changes the landscape for the future. Not only do I need to be obedient for my own walk with God, the people around me need me to be obedient as well. God isn’t playing some cosmic chess match just for the fun of it, the stakes are too high. He is active and seeking hearts willing to live by faith, be obedient and love the world around them. We all have opportunities to be like Abram, he was just an average guy that was willing to be obedient and look what happened. 

Be obedient even when it scares you. God is with you and He won’t leave you or forsake you. Keep walking even when it doesn’t make sense and keep your faith activated. You may never understand exactly why God called you to do something but He knows why and He knows the needs. Obedience changes everything!

Shalom,

KA

By Faith: Your Calling


God’s call on your life may make no sense whatsoever. It may seriously look crazy to everyone around you and yet, you know for certain you are hearing God’s voice. The Bible is full of examples of people who had no training, no ability and no reason to do what God was calling them to do and yet, through their obedience, God was glorified. God’s calling doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to be obeyed. Let’s take a look at Noah.

Hebrews 11:7 tells us that because of his faith, God saved Noah and his entire family, plus all of creation, from extinction. God’s call on Noah’s life wasn’t something easy like, say, hiding out in a cave or moving to another town. When God spoke to Noah, he told him that He was going to destroy the earth and the only way Noah and his family would escape was by building a huge, over-the-top lifeboat called the ark. I don’t know about you, but that would have been a little bit hard to believe if I were Noah.

Noah heard and obeyed the call of God because he was in relationship with God and lived by faith. Genesis chapter 6 tells us that Noah had found favor with God, was blameless and that he walked with God. His close relational proximity to God allowed him to hear God’s unique call on his life and allowed all of us to be here now. Noah is an amazing example of how your call impacts future generations. Your children’s children and their children need you to follow the call on your life. No excuses, just obedience.

Noah is also one of several examples of God using people completely unlikely for amazing work. Noah was 600 years old when the flood started. 600 years old!!! I feel too old for most of what God asks of me and I’m no where near that age. God doesn’t care about what you think your physical limitations are, he cares about the willingness of your heart. Most of the people we call “heros of the faith” from both the Old and New Testaments are heros because of their obedience. God is able, don’t ever doubt that He will equip you for what He has called you.

Your call is yours, its personal to you and has meaning based on your story and relationship with God. Thousands of people are called “pastor”, but each one fulfills that call in a different way that is exclusive to them. The body of Christ, operates best when we are all doing what we were created to do. Paul does a great job in Ephesians 4:11-13, of explaining why God calls us to different roles. In this passage, Paul tells us that our different roles build up the body of Christ so that we all operate in the fullness of Christ. When we operate in this fullness, we bring about the increase of the His kingdom. How awesome is it to know that there are no “small calls” in the kingdom of God! Each role, each part, is important to making the whole thing work. You are needed and important.

The call of Christ is sometimes scary because it often demands some type risk which requires increased faith. Living by faith means that you are going to have those closest to you be confused by what you’re doing, but stand firm in your faith and what you hear God calling you to. If Noah hadn’t listened and obeyed, the earth and all of its inhabitants would have perished. Instead, he built the ark, loaded it up and because of Noah’s faith, we are here today. Your call matters.

Shalom,

KA