Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Monday
Jul292013

WHY DID OUR FATHER PUT US HERE?

“Why did our Father put us here?”  That’s the big question for each of us.  What is your unique gift?  Your unique talent?  What is your calling?  What can you do that makes the world different?  And better?  What really excites you?  How can you love your neighbor?  And serve God? 

These are profound questions.  If you have received Jesus in your life, He lives within you and wants to live through you.  What is that longing deep within you that must be met for you truly to fulfill yourself? What’s your real dream for your life?  What's His dream for your life?

That’s the major issue in each of our lives.  And most people don’t deal with the issue.  Rather they focus on a job or a career that promises financial rewards.

So, how can you answer the question and get in touch with your true self?  I discovered a method at an unlikely place:  General Electric.  In 1964, at the GE plant in Schenectady, NY, I took a week-long class in intensive interviewing.  As part of the course, the instructor challenged us with the following exercise:

Supposing I could give you $100,000 a year for life on the condition that you do no work for pay. How would you spend your time?

Huh? 

That situation is so unexpected that it deserves explanation.  Each January 2, your great donor would give you a check for $100,000.  With the value of the dollar declining so fast, he would tie the grant to the cost of living index, so your annual grant would maintain its worth.

And let’s say you’re one of the world’s leading jazz trumpeters.  You can play all the gigs you want.  Laws and union rules require that you be paid.  That’s OK, but you have to donate all your earnings to charities in order to get your January check.

So, the world is now open to you.  What will you do with yourself? 

Got it?

Alright.  Take as long as you need to think through the question.  Take as long as you need to pray through the question.

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What’s going on here? 

You’ve just been given the gift of thinking of your life without financial pressures.  Most of the time, we look at the future through dollar signs, and those dollar signs blind us.

So, be liberated to discover the yearnings that God has placed deep within you.  And then, through prayer check with the Holy Spirit to be sure you’ve identified the right yearning.

Simple as that? 

Simple as that.

What are some results from the $100,000 check question?  Only two people gave flip answers.  One guy said he'd go live in the beach at Lauderdale.  Another was a former assistant to Edwin Land, inventor of the Land Polaroid Camera.  The former assistant dismissed the question.  "I wouldn't want to put a limit on my income."

Others to whom I've furnished the question have discovered or affirmed a dream within.  For example, friend Chyrl Brandt was a searching for career possibilities because their son was ten, and she wanted to get out of the house.  The question freed her to say that if she were college age again, she'd become a pathologist. But of course, that was unrealistic.  She wasn't about to go through med school, internship and residency.  I asked whether there are pathology technicians.  She didn't know, but decided to find out.  She contacted Cincinnati's University Hospital, discovered that a pathology technician is called a cytotechnologist – and that the Hospital was about to give a year-long cytotechnology course.  (Cyto is Greek for cell.)  She took the course, became a skilled technician, and over the years became the director of a rural clinic 50 miles east of Cincinnati.

So the question has power.  I recommend its use.

Note:  There’s Scripture on all this.  Jesus being in you is completely relevant to living out His vision for your life.

Romans 8:11

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

Philippians 1:6

[Be] confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Colossians 2:6-7

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Philemon 4-6

I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:20-21

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Next Week's Blog:  How to Live Your Dream 

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Purpose of this blog is to compile several books for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright  ©  2013 by Jack Towe

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