Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

The call of God

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Monday Matthew 10:7-8 (NRSV)
“As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.”

When Jesus sent out his disciples, he expected them to accomplish great things. They came back surprised, rejoicing at all they had been able to do.

What are some of the great things God has asked you to do? (If you don’t know of any, what are some of the great things Jesus has asked all Christians to do?)

Try to list ten or more.

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Which are you making progress on, which do you need help with, and which are you neglecting (so far)?

Tuesday 2 Samuel 11:1 (NRSV)
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

David was a warrior. He was skilled and had decades of practice. But one year at the time when kings (like David) went to war, David stayed home.

What are some of your best abilities?

How much time are you spending on them?

What has God called you to do that you’re not doing this year?

Wednesday 2 Samuel 11:2 (NRSV)
It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.

David had been convinced that he was too valuable to lose in battle and that warfare was too risky for him to participate in. So he gave up the adventurous life he was good at.

Any time you give up what you are best at, it creates a vacuum. And something less than your best will fill it, if you insist on not doing what God has called you to do. In David’s case, because he wasn’t pursuing God-given adventures, he fell into sin.

When you don’t do the dangerous, risky things God calls you to do, often a person’s need for adventure will lead them to do things that are harmful, to themselves and to others.

Look over your list from Monday. Are there any things you need to spend more time on?

Thursday Luke 22:31-34 (NRSV)
“Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  And he said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!”  Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.”

When Jesus prayed for Peter, he didn’t pray that Peter would not be tempted. He didn’t pray that Peter would not fall. Falls are unfortunate and undesirable, but they are also predictable. Common. Part of the human experience. Instead, Jesus prays that – after Peter falls – Peter will not also lose faith. Jesus needs Peter to strengthen the other disciples. Even though Jesus knows that Peter is about to fail him three times, he lets Peter know that he needs Peter’s help.

Your sin does not disqualify you from the call of God.

What keeps you from doing things Jesus has called you to do? What keeps you from your God-given destiny? What keeps you from doing the things on your list from Monday?

(Make a list. It might be long!)

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Friday 1 Timothy 1:15a (NRSV)
The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

Peter’s denial is a permanent part of his record. Everywhere Peter goes, everyone will know that just when Jesus most needed a friend and supporter, Peter denied him. For Peter to be effective, he has to accept Jesus’ forgiveness of his failure, get over it, and start doing something new.

You also may need to get over some residue from past failures. You may also need to get over some other things on your list from Thursday.

Take some time to ask Jesus to forgive you for – and release you from – the things on your list from Thursday

(After you pray, you may not feel different. Feelings follow actions. Act differently and you’ll start to feel differently.)

Saturday Acts 2:36 (NRSV)
[Peter said,] “Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Often, the key to accomplishing great things is to persevere in spite of your feelings and the opinions of others. Peter denied Jesus because of his fear of the authorities and what they might do. But he overcame that fear (see Acts 2). Likewise, you can overcome what is keeping you back.

Take some time to ask the Holy Spirit to help you be more effective in accomplishing your God-given destiny (including the things on your list from Monday).