How Deliberate Are You?

I love this:

“That He would use the likes of me to spread His message of love and redemption? It’s too good.

That He would allow me to be present in moments when clients choose to receive His work on the cross? It’s too good.

That He would give me a front row seat to witness the Kingdom overcoming the darkness – in clients’ lives, in my life? It’s too good!

Find a place to give Jesus. Wherever you are, give Jesus, yes, but also be intentional about going to where He’s unknown and give Jesus there, too. I’m telling you, He will bless you in the process.”

I found this on a post on Kelly Levatino’s blog, “Calculating Grace,” (I love the imagery of the title, too). But Kelly’s words made me sit back and wonder how many times I have gone about my day, oblivious to how I was affecting the lives of those I met at a restaurant or even corresponded with someone on the phone.

Were my words and attitude truly reflecting the Life that lives within me? When I spoke, how do my words impact their lives? When my kids were younger and riding in my car, did my words, actions and attitude mold their character and affect their lives as they grew older? Are they now affecting the lives and forming the character of their children?

Then I began to wonder how intentional I was in reaching out to people with the message of hope and Salvation? As the Psalmist cried, “You have done many miraculous things, O Lord my God. You have made many wonderful plans for us. No one compares to you! I will tell others about your miracles, which are more than I can count” (Psalm 40:5)!

Indeed! If He has done such miraculous things and has made such wonderful plans, have I told — deliberately told — others about those miracles? Or, have I simply gone about my day without caring how I impacted the lives of those who I spoke to or saw me in public? It is easy to do, you know. If we do not begin our day as an act of worship, deliberately giving honor to our Lord, we will go the rest of our day without an ounce of concern for those around us. We must be deliberate in our words and deeds.

Wait a minute! Didn’t I read that somewhere? Oh yeah! I saw it in a Book of Common Prayer!

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you and against our fellow men,
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry,
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,
forgive us all that is past;
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

Well, that is what has been on my mind lately. How about you? Have you considered how your words and actions reflect our Father’s Heart for others? For some, you never know, but you may be the only evidence of a believer they meet. Interesting thought, isn’t it? It makes sense though.

I have heard it said that each of us meet and interact with people, that none of our other friends will ever have the opportunity to meet and interact with. Oh sure, our Father has others He can send their way, but maybe, just maybe, He sent YOU to meet and interact with them. Maybe He placed YOU in the exact spot you were in, for the sole purpose of interacting with that person. Sobering thought, isn’t it?

Hey, that is not too far off to ignore. Look at something we see in Proverbs:

Entrust your efforts to the Lord,
    and your plans will succeed.
The Lord has made everything for his own purpose,
    even wicked people for the day of trouble . . .
A person may plan his own journey,
    but the Lord directs his steps (Provebrs 16:3, 9)

Aah, so if we turn our efforts over to the Lord, they will succeed? Okay, we like the sound of that . . . but then, we can plan our path for the day, but the Lord is the one who will direct our steps! Oh!

So let’s think this through. When I was on the cardiac word, I had a whole team of physicians who would visit me each morning, but one in particular would visit me on her own. It ended up that she and her husband were new to the area and felt very alone and lost. They desperately needed a church where they could connect with other believers. I found the one, and to this day, she and her husband receive my Morning Messages (and yes, I asked permission before I told you this story).

Another time, I was be escorted to a particular procedure and as we entered the elevator, I became overwhelmed with a need to speak to her. I asked her is there was anything I could do for her; to pray for her. Her eyes opened wide and she stopped the elevator. She looked at me with a shocked look on her face when she explained that her husband and just left her and she didn’t know what to do. So we prayed and I gave her a number of someone in our church who had a support group for her. Wow! Our Father is so magnificent.

Most of us wake up and as normal and spend some time with the Lord. It may not be long and our prayers may not be eloquent, but they don’t have to be, as long as they are from our heart.

Let me give you a more recent example of this. I continually receive requests to connect via Facebook. Some invitations are from internationals who will later request some financial support. That’s okay, the Lord instructs me on those. But other times it will be a single woman from another country who is looking to share “her photos,” if I respond to their private email address. Guess what? They are blocked and reported to Facebook and eventually banned.

Other time I sense a real nudge from the Lord to connect with that person. That is what happened recently. Someone as asked to connect, and since she was in the states I figured, “Why not?” Well, within a day or so went by when she opened a chat with me. I politely responded and she immediately said that she was divorce and a 3-year-old, and just wanted to know if I was married. Which I am, Then she asked if I was “Happily married.” Well, after thirty two years of marriage, four wonderful kids and six beautiful grand children, I sure hope so.

But as the conversation progressed, I was led to share something that Elisabeth Elliot wrote several years ago, and has stayed with me.

“Contentment requires humility, which requires a willingness to receive what He gives, to relinquish what He takes, to suffer what He sends, and to do what He says.”

Then I explained, “If we can apply this viewpoint everyday, we will find greater, unadulterated peace. We need to start counting the blessings where sometimes we can only see sorrow. We will find the many beautiful Fingerprints of our Savior in our circumstances where we originally wondered, ‘Where is God’s Hand in this?’

“If we can completely relinquish “our rights, our desires” at His feet, our eyes will become open to see how He orchestrated our life in the past, and how He has strategically moved is within His will for His glory.

“We will even see how the “blessings denied” were “blessings received” of the Lord’s protecting us from what was not His best! Revelations like that will be similar to a sunrise for our soul! This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky belief system. This is an offer of a realistic relationship Jesus offers each of us!

“When I first saw your invitation to connect, i was “stirred” to accept. Now on the surface you could say that I was drawn to your youth and how attractive you are, but more importantly, I believe the Lord desires most of all to touch your heart.

“You have a church background [which she had already told me about], but did you ever take a step beyond merely attending church, and actually discovering who they were worshipping? Your invitation to connect wasn’t an accident. You deliberately asked me to connect, and I believe the Lord had a reason for that . . .”

We will see what transpires from this, and I will keep you updated. But that is the price people pay when they connect with me. And unlike some ministries and companies, I won’t hound her or inundate her with tracts and unwanted emails, either.

What I am trying to tell you is that you must spend more time with the Holy Spirit. Remember this, the Holy Spirit dwells in our spirits. We are His temple, and He is our Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby. The Holy Spirit leads and guides us into all truth — including the truth about our beautiful Savior. And the Holy Spirit is speaking to us more than we know and we need to allow Him to guide and teach us.


(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.

The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.

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