A Time of Refreshing / Renewing The Call

“Sometimes absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, it makes the heart grow apathy.”  Beth Ipock

Actually, when I had this thought, I wasn’t thinking about a person, I was thinking about a calling.

I lead the choir at my local church.  Our rehearsals are on Sunday evenings (sometimes starting at 4pm) before the evening service.  Back in the late fall,  we missed two weeks of choir rehearsal.  There are definitely times when it is good to take a break in order to refresh.

 

On the other hand, during that absence started thinking there were things I would rather be doing.  I mean, there are so many things I would love to do. Maybe leading a church choir isn’t something I am called to any more.

Here’s just a partial list of things I love to do or would love to do (in no particular order):

  •  I love spending time with my husband
  •  I love traveling
  •  I love my job
  •  I love serving my Lord through music and Bible teaching
  •  I love leading women’s events
  •  I love spending time with grandkids
  •  I love to get together with friends
  •  I love scrapbooking and making hand-made cards
  •  I love writing
  •  I love reading
  •  I love Bible study and prayer

(As Father Tim says in Jan Karon’s Mitford Series, “Cavanaugh, what don’t you love?”  I  think that’s a different blog.)

So when I’m away from my typical service, it seems I am more likely to question if what I am doing is what I should be doing.   It’s easier to think about things I don’t have time to do and wish I could do them.

But back with choir on the Sunday morning following vacation, I realized that I love God, I love worship, I love music and I love leading/teaching others.  So leading the choir at First Baptist Church in Seymour, Missouri is a perfect thing for me.  Our choir is made up of 18 people that love the Lord and are faithful in preparing to lead in worship each week.

Father, I thank you for the opportunities you give me for refreshing.  Thank you for renewing the joy of my call to your service.  Thank you for giving me love for you and your people.

Do not be dismayed

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Joshua. Over and over the Lord encourages him to be strong and courageous.

I am using a magazine I received in the mail in my Bible study right now.  In this month’ Tabletalk from Ligonier Ministries the lesson was on Joshua 1:9.  I needed this last Thursday, but there must be a reason the Lord gave it to me today.

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”  Joshua 1:9 (ESV).

So today I looked up frightened and dismayed in my e-Sword.  I have never had Hebrew lessons, so I know I’m missing some background, but it is still enlightening to get the root of the word being used.

Of particular interest this morning was dismayed.  In the NIV it is translated discouraged.

châthath (khaw-thath’)
A primitive root; properly to prostrate; hence to break down, either (literally) by violence, or (figuratively) by confusion and fear: – abolish, affright, be (make) afraid, amaze, beat down, discourage, (cause to) dismay, go down, scare, terrify.

That is really how I was feeling last week. . . beat down.  And I knew I wasn’t because I am God’s child.  And I knew that He was with me.  And I praised him in spite of it.  But Satan was still able to beat me down with all the negative circumstances.

There is no place that the Lord promises us ease, but He promises His presence and joy unspeakable.  And he promises that He will be with us wherever we go.

Thank you, Lord for revealing your presence to me.  Thank you for the victory that is waiting.  Help me be one of the spies that believes that you will provide all that you’ve promised us.  Help me encourage others.

So You Want to Go Back to Egypt

YEARS ago, Keith and Melody Green wrote a tongue-in-cheek song about the Israelites’ constant complaining about life on the road to Canaan.  I love the Internet because you can typically find these things with a quick search.

It is easy to read the accounts Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and just be amazed that God’s chosen people would have preferred being slaves in Egypt than undergoing some challenges to get to a land of blessing.  Sadly, I have to say, that we are just like them.

This is a broad generalization because I am sure there were those in the 2.5 million (estimate) group that were positive supporters of Moses, Aaron, Miriam and their individual tribes’ leadership.  I know that there are many people today who seek the Lord and want to go with Him, wherever it is and whatever it takes.  They prayerfully support their pastor, their boss, their company’s CEO.

This is a really challenging time to be a leader in business.  Listen to the news (which I typically don’t) and it’s pretty negative.  In our business, orders are down; work hours have been cut; we’ve started charging for part of the insurance premium. So no matter how positive we try to be, the message many are perceiving is negative.  And no matter how we try to improve our leadership styles, some people are really unhappy — or at least that’s what they talk about.

This morning, as I struggled with my own morale as a result of these challenges, I remember that the Bible tells of many times that Moses got frustrated.  “Lord, why have you brought this trouble on your servant?”   And I wonder how exhausted the Lord must become with His children when despite all our riches in Him we cannot be satisfied.  “Lord, this isn’t fair.”  “But, Lord, Floyd’s been mean to me.”  “Lord, the pastor said some things today that made me mad.”  “Nobody, . . .”  “Everybody. . .”

The best I can do is focus on doing what the Lord has called me to do.  I must stay in tune with Him and follow His leadership and not get distracted by the negative.  There are many who want to see the positive and want our company, including the leaders, to be successful and they are able to see our efforts rather than all our downfalls.

Father forgive me for being a detractor instead of a promoter of you because of my behavior and my disobedience.  Lord, give me your wisdom; your leadership style.  Help me distinguish between true concerns that need to be dealt with and chronic complaining so that I can spend energy on the former and ignore the latter.  Continually remind me of my calling to my workplace and my responsibilities to glorify you no matter the difficulty.   I pray that those who work in my company will be able to trust the leadership, focus on the positive and be forgiving when their leaders fail from time to time.  Give us favor in the workplace, I pray.