Tag Archives: SHAPE

He Equips the Called

You might have heard the statement, “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.” It’s true. What use has God for someone who already knows all the answers? What use has He for someone who doesn’t need His help? What glory does He get when we do it in our own power?

God wants us in our weakness, not our strength. He wants to do something through us that we can’t do on our own. When He does, He gets the glory.

“But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before Him.”

(1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). If you’re in a spot where you never need to rely on God, it might be time for a move. You’re playing it safe, doing things inside your comfort zone. God wants you a little nervous. He wants you to feel ill-equipped. When you do, you know that He’ll have to show up if the job is going to get done. Perfect!

Think about Moses arguing about his public speaking ability with a burning bush or Isaiah worrying about his lips. Think about Mary, who had not yet been with a man, or Gideon needing reassurance about the battle before him. In their weakness, God showed His strength. The most powerful examples of God working through men and women come from the ill-equipped.

Peter’s life provides a good contrast. In the years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Peter always had all the answers. He was proud and impulsive. I think God loved Peter’s impulsiveness, but He had to mold it so that it could be used. Peter’s ministry began only after he had been broken. When all his boasting came to naught, Peter had to admit that he wasn’t the Lord’s reliable defender. Ironically, out of Peter’s brokenness, God made him what he so wanted to be but couldn’t achieve in his own power.

If you want the Potter to use your clay, don’t take Him a finished product. What’s He going to do with that? It’s not moldable. It is rigid. Instead, take Him your misshapen lump. Let the Potter make of the lump what He wants to make. It may be what you’ve always hoped for, but it may be something entirely better.


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Filed under Challenges, christianity, God's Will, overcoming obstacles, Religion, Spiritual Growth, Spirituality, submission

The Value of the Valley

In my last post, I talked about the valley that follows our mountain-top experiences. The valley is valuable to us in our walk with God. And not just valuable, essential. If your entire life was made up of mountain-tops, they wouldn’t be mountain-tops; they would be one, long plateau.

We learn our greatest lessons in the valley. A number of years ago, the Center for Creative Leadership did a study of CEOs leading Fortune 100 companies. They asked them, “What experiences have you had that taught you something you use today as a leader?” The results were interesting.

When they analyzed all the experiences, they found that they could be grouped into four types: Hardships, Challenging Assignments, Relationship Events and Other Events.

  • Hardships involved demotions, terminations, difficult employee problems, personal traumas, failures, and serious negative feedback. In other words, valley experiences that ended badly.
  • Challenging Assignments involved turn-around jobs, start-up operations, and huge increases in scope and scale. In other words, valley experiences that ended with success.
  • Relationship Events involved contact with mentors, role-models, coaches and other influential people.
  • Other Events involved early job experiences, personal events, parenting and other miscellaneous experiences.

The majority (61%) of the useful leadership lessons these CEO’s had learned in their lives came from difficult experiences. Some turned out well and others didn’t, but both made lasting impressions on the CEO’s and taught them important things that they were still using at the time of the survey.

But that’s just a business example. Think about your life and where the most useful lessons have come from, and you will probably find that they weren’t learned on top of the mountain; they were learned in the valleys of your life.

Or consider the heroes of Scripture.

  • Abraham learned to wait on the Lord during the 25 years between God’s promise to make him the father of a nation and the birth of Isaac.
  • Joseph learned how to administrate during his years as a slave and in prison.
  • David learned how to lead as he led his mighty men through the wilderness with King Saul at their heals.
  • Daniel learned to trust in God in a foreign land while he served several pagan kings.
  • Peter learned to submit to God’s plan and timing only after he failed to live up to his boasts and denied his Lord three times.

These heroes became heroes because God used the difficult times in their lives to mold and shape them.  He uses our difficult times in the same way.  There’s value in the valley.

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Filed under Challenges, christianity, learning, overcoming obstacles, Religion, Spiritual Growth, Spirituality, Suffering

Tap Your Wells

Ira Yates knew ranching. He didn’t know diddly about running a grocery store. So when Thomas Hickox offered to trade his ranch for the dry-goods store in Rankin, TX, Yates jumped at the chance to get back to what he knew.

He had been warned against the deal. “That land’s not worth the taxes,” they told him. “A crow wouldn’t even fly over it,” they said. But it was 16,640 acres of land that Yates could call his own. Never mind the constant boundary disputes and the “greasy” well water. She weren’t pretty, and she was a bit high-maintenance, but she was his.

For almost a decade, Yates struggled to make ends meet ranching his land, but the expenses were just too fat for his income to reach around. Droughts and the Great Depression stole every penny of profit he could get his hands on. He was just about ready to concede defeat. Looked like all the naysayers had been right.

But then he heard a rumor. West Texas was sitting on an oil reserve, they said.

Excited by the possibility, Yates tried to talk oil companies into drilling on his land, but no one thought there was any oil west of the Pecos River. For two years, he continued to ask big oil to come drill, but they were all too busy with established wells to pay him any attention. Then, in 1926, Yates convinced Transcontinental Oil and Ohio Oil to put up some test rigs on his land.

They had to drill four wells before they found anything, but on October 28th of that same year, Yates became an instant millionaire! For decades afterward, his ranch was the largest petroleum reserve in the United States, producing at its zenith an incredible 9,009 barrels of oil a day!

How many of us are sitting on untapped potential? How many of us have unused resources, talents, gifts and abilities? What are we saving them for? We give God glory by using everything He gave us, and our greatest potential for drawing others to Christ is in doing what God uniquely designed each of us to do.

If you haven’t discovered what that is yet, it’s time to start digging some wells. Maybe the first few things you try won’t pan out, but keep digging. Maybe everyone around you will tell you that you don’t really have anything to offer, but don’t believe them. You have abundance! It’s hidden inside, and you’ve got to search it out.

And if you’re stuck “ranching” today even though you know that’s not God’s ultimate purpose for you, remember to be faithful with small things. Even this work is part of God’s plan. Remember that Moses tended sheep for forty years, and Paul made tents. How you respond to these tests shows the quality of your heart. When you’ve passed the tests, God will show you your oilfield.

P.S. Don’t let anyone else drink your milkshake. ;0)

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