Finding Your Design: Leader (Ruler)

In Romans 12, we find the Father giving gifts to people.  Contemplating those ‘gifts’ as individual design can be eye-opening!  For further information, visit the Discipleship Coaching – Design page.

Are you a Leader?

The leader enjoys planning and pressure–and thinks everyone else does too! A ruler is skilled at time management but cannot be micro-managed or scheduled against their will. They do not go about assigning blame to others but find ways to fix the problems that come about. The God-designed ruler has an incredible ability to help people findtheir place and is masterful at using imperfect people…but may drive people too hard.

Rulers sometimes fail to seek the wisdom of God and rely on their own instincts. They may fall into the trap of thinking the ends justify the means. There is potential for great good in a Godly ruler and great devastation when this personality runs afoul of the Lord.

When living in the Lord, the Ruler gifting has the potential of bringing great blessings to many.

Finding Your Design: Giver

In Romans 12, we find the Father giving gifts to people.  Contemplating those ‘gifts’ as individual design can be eye-opening!  For further information, visit the Discipleship Coaching – Design page.

Are you a Giver?

Who owns it all? There is the question the Giver must answer…and the right answer, of course, is God. The Giver who stewards what God owns instead of seeking to find comfort in resources has much to offer the Kingdom of God. Resources simply flow to the Giver; learning to allow God access and control of those resources is the pinnacle for this gifting.Giving Tree

A desire for control opens the door in the Giver’s life for the enemy. Sometimes that desire looks sweet: like providing for others. Digging to the root of immature finds that the gifts are actually meeting the givers need to be needed by others. Since only Christ meets any need fully, victory comes to the Giver when he/she releases resources to the control of God.

Finding Your Design: Exhorter

In Romans 12, we find the Father giving gifts to people.  Contemplating those ‘gifts’ as individual design can be eye-opening!  For further information, visit the Discipleship Coaching – Design page.

Are you an Exhorter?

Now there’s a word we don’t use often! An exhorter is one who encourages, one who builds teams and enjoys people. The exhorter is a world-changer who loves a crowd…and is loved by the crowd. A networker attuned to people’s feelings, this gifting is not intimidated by new ideas and has masterful communication skills.

Pleasing people is something many of us struggle with, but the exhorter feels the weight even more. Sensitivity to criticism makes the exhorter prone to please people instead of God–and causes the agenda of others to take priority over the agenda of the King. Time management issues play into the struggle.

The exhorter has great potential for drawing people into knowing God personally when the cult of comfort is laid to rest! Growing disciples is the fruit of the mature exhorter.

Finding Your Design: Teacher

In Romans 12, we find the Father giving gifts to people.  Contemplating those ‘gifts’ as individual design can be eye-opening!  For further information, visit the Discipleship Coaching – Design page.

Are you a Teacher?

Ezra, Luke, Mary and Isaiah are among the teacher types in Scripture. You may be a teacher if you are a research-oriented person who likes to write. Teachers hate conflict but have a quick wit and humor. They are not likely to receive new truth quickly–or reject ideas out of hand. The teacher tends not to be judgmental which makes them safe for others and not intimidating.

Even though the tendency is not to be judgmental, immature teachers have an equally challenging negative: keeping studies in the head and not melding in the heart. Teachers prefer to have the path laid out before they start and often feel unworthy of leading. Self-centered religiosity keeps the teacher from reaching their designed heights.

Teachers must learn to live out what their heads know. When they do, they blend teaching and discipline to the Body that cleanses!

Finding Your Design: Servant

In Romans 12, we find the Father giving gifts to people.  Contemplating those ‘gifts’ as individual design can be eye-opening!  For further information, visit the Discipleship Coaching – Design page.

Are you a Servant?

Are you the one who simply cannot say no? Do you get angry over being used and feel like no one else ever does their share? Do you hear the lie that says you are nobody…even while you run yourself ragged to please everybody else? Maybe God has designed you as a servant…but that is not a doormat. See if these characteristics speak of you:

  • Work well with others and honor them
  • Make excuses for others
  • Hard worker
  • Obedience is easy for you
  • Reach out for the unloveable people
  • Desire to walk in holiness
  • Like to make others comfortable

If that is you, here is a beautiful truth. God knows your heart is to serve and He can trust you more than most because of that! You have great authority when you learn to not respond to life as a victim. Your victory lies in understand you are worthy in the eyes of God!

Finding Your Design: Prophet

In Romans 12, we find the Father giving gifts to people.  Contemplating those ‘gifts’ as individual design can be eye-opening!  For further information, visit the Discipleship Coaching – Design page.

Are you a Prophet?

Lots of folks have claimed to be prophets over the years, and perhaps they were. But like every gift, it can be used to glorify God or not. Immature prophets can be harsh and act as if they were god himself. The immature prophet is opinionated and more skilled at tearing down than building up. Good intentions are not absent but excelling is seen as the way to please God. The prophet struggles to enjoy close relationships.

The mature prophet, on the other hand, takes the principles of God to build relationships to their intended beauty. The prophet who walks in the Light receives mercy and forgiveness from God and effectively distributes it to others. The prophet has immense potential grow the Body of Christ to great beauty!

Some behavioral traits to help you identify if this is your design:

  • See things in black & white
  • Logic driven
  • Bold
  • Faith is an easy thing
  • Hate status quo
  • Quick to judge or categorize
  • Fixer

Glory Story: WHY, God?

Mom, Mary and GrandmaGod answers “Why” questions.  He is not angry when we ask them; in fact, I think He likes them.  God wants to reveal Himself to us, and He is always the answer to ‘Why?’  There are special people in the world who help us see the magnificence of the ways of God.  Mary Daly is one such person.  Born with Cerebral Palsy caused by a traumatic brain injury, God provided her with an inheritance of faith.  The precious gift of a loving family and a faith-filled mom and grandmother built a solid foundation for Mary.  She understood from her earliest days that God had a great plan for her life; Mary knew that the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 did not exclude those with different abilities!

But that did not mean life was easy.  Multiple surgeries and excruciating physical therapy assaulted her body.  Doctors said she would never walk.   Life in a self-absorbed world cut Mary in different ways.  When her physical limitations inconvenienced others, she found herself tossed aside. “I was the friend who was always disposable, biodegradable and recyclable.”

Mary shares that she questioned why God chose her to bear such burdens.  She wondered why God healed others and not her.  She questioned if the CP was a punishment of some sort…was God mad?  Did she deserve this?  Did He really love her?

Those griefs tore into Mary’s soul; ‘deep depression and crippling anxiety worse than the debilitating orthopedic pain’ blocked her view of the goodness of God.  In that darkness, He continued to work and give gifts that helped her through.  A love for horses became the key that unlocked the mystery of the love of God!Therapeutic horseback riding had been one of the best parts of Mary’s physical therapy.  She developed a love for horses from those experiences.  A family trip to Yellowstone National Park that included horseback riding built on that love.

“I was free to soak up every ounce of God’s great beauty with each beat of the horses’ hooves,” Mary enthuses.

A desire for more of that freedom—and formal riding lessons–began building in Mary.  Questions plagued her mind:  Could she balance well enough to ride?  Would her walker frighten the horses?  Would others accept her?  Would there be a stable willing to work with her?

Complicating (one might think) the whole idea, Mary had just moved 350 miles to a tiny, rural county to attend college.  In God’s inimitable way, she found in her tiny town a stable owned by a physical therapist—with a trainer who welcomed the challenges presented by a rider with cerebral palsy.  God began to reveal His loving watch-care.

At the stable, the trainer chose a quiet, thoughtful mare named Annabelle as Mary’s mount.  The clouds of doubt about the love of God began to roll away.  The very first day of riding lessons, the trainer invited Mary to try a trot just ‘like every other student!”  Amazed and overjoyed, Mary soared around the ring.  Annabelle helped Mary gain core strength, balance and stamina.  Practicing the post strengthened her leg muscles and soon Mary joyfully proved doctors wrong by walking a few steps on her own!

Before long, Mary began to desire a horse that could offer more challenge.  She loved Annabelle but wished for a bit more pep.  The trainer suggested a beautiful black named Jett.  Though Mary promised not to lose that special bond with Annabelle, she soon became a fond memory.  God gently pressed on Mary:  ‘remember those friends who left you?  It was not you; it was part of life.’ Understanding eased the losses of the past and increased her ability to accept her own worth and value.  It also helped Mary to see life from a fuller perspective, and relationships became easier.

The stable itself helped Mary began to develop a network of friends. The common bond of love for horses, the camaraderie of sore muscles, opportunities to encourage and be encouraged: all worked together, allowing Mary to be a participant instead of a spectator.  All of life began to make more sense.  For the first time, she understood her brother’s love of sports.  In the midst of life, Mary understood:  God wanted to be in the middle of her life too.  God did not want to be outside looking in either!  He wanted to be the center of her life, the answer to every Why?!

In the context of life, God began revealing Himself!   Mary began to see beautiful answers to her questions; the answers had never been far from her.  They had been waiting for Mary to work them out in the midst of the things she loved.  The foundation gifts of faith, hope and love that she always possessed helped her move into the answers as she followed her dreams.  The adventure had only just begun.

Just like the love of God that has no end, her dreams grew.  First, it was a saddle.  “Just having my own tack seemed like the greatest thing in the world,” thought Mary.  Indeed, she did enjoy that, but a bigger dream kept nudging in:  she really wanted a horse of her own.  After much prayer—and plenty of research, Mary approached her mom:

“God shows me little glimpses of heaven on the back of a horse,” she pleaded.

Before long the search for a horse began.  Visit after visit to farms with horses for sale produced no horse that matched Mary and EclipseMary.  She began to wonder if God was telling her to move on and find a new dream.  As they looked, Mary continued with riding lessons and grew in confidence.  Finally, her mom found a horse she felt was perfect!  Mary and the trainer were not so sure.

Since there was one more visit already scheduled, they went to see the horse.  He was a large, 15.2 hand black beauty named Eclipse.  Mary fell in love with his looks and his personality, and the trainer agreed, but Mom struggled with the height—and her affinity for the previous horse.  Mary won her over, and Eclipse became her new partner in the grand adventure of life.

Eclipse intuitively seemed to understand both Mary’s needs and her desires to take on new challenges.  Pole patterns, dressage work and doing diagonals kept them busy. Mary, deeply desiring as much independence as possible needed Eclipse to have some additional training.  Mary used a mounting block at the stable but had no option for trail rides.  Her trainer suggested finding someone to teach Eclipse to lie down for her to mount.  Excited by the possibilities that would open up, Mary and her mother began searching for the right trainer.

The loving watch-care of God soon became evident with another miraculous provision.  In a chance meeting at a local family restaurant, the Daly’s learned there was a world-renowned trainer right in their community.  Despite a typically  With the trainerpacked schedule, Mary’s story moved him, and he made room for Eclipse. The question of God’s love continued to be answered as Mary realized: “Everything I had prayed God would bless with me was mine.  God has sent ‘angels to watch over me along this beautiful journey.  I really do have a wonderful life!”

Mary’s story is one of extreme challenge and extreme blessing; yet it contains truth we all can see.  God works in our lives in whatever way will draw us closest to Him.  Nothing is too hard for Him to transform.  Nothing is beyond His love and care for us.  His ways are not ours; they are better.  His love in the midst of life gives the answer to Why.

Mary and Grandma

Mary’s beloved Gams, Elizabeth Barron Auld “Bep” McElwee, moved to heaven this past week. This story–and all future adventures–are lovingly dedicated to her.

We cannot give what we will not receive.

Every good and perfect gift comes from our Father in heaven.  Those who long to serve the Father must receive from Him.  That doesn’t sound like a difficult aspect of servanthood, does it? In reality, it is very difficult and demands great faith!

By this time in Moses’ life, he already had learned some high-level truths.  Evil and injustice happens.  Good—even ‘right’—desires not submitted to God bring disaster.  Serving God requires leaving your comfort zone and entering holy ground.  Appreciating your design (with its limitations) and putting it all in God’s hands creates wild results.  Learning to receive from God expands servant training!

Let’s look at how this instruction in growth came to Moses:

And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. (Exodus 4:6-7)

Leprosy in Bible times meant shame, ostracization and ultimately death.  While God had not yet given the Law, the reality of the disease surely struck fear in Moses’ heart when he saw his hand.  Highly contagious, leprosy literally eats away at the flesh.  Then, as now, no cure existed.  Pause with Moses and look at his hand.  Feel the emotions of deep dread, hopelessness and grief.  That is the place of healing servants must be willing to face.

Ah, but JOY comes with obedience. ‘Put your hand near your heart again…’ and feel the blessed wholeness of healing.  That which is close to the heart of the servant belongs to God as well.  Our health, our reputations, our loved ones…everything is His to work with—to afflict, and glory to Him, to heal!  He is trustworthy.  Hear Jesus’ words in John 6:

 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

The Father and the Son will take care of all the servant entrusts to them…far better care than we take on our own.  It is a servant lesson we need not rush; as the Loved One often says in the Song of Solomon, ‘Awaken not love before its time.’  We need not make sacrifices to prove our love; we only need to receive the gift of faith that fills us with courage.

The emphasis cannot be overstated:  we receive faith.  We neither earn nor create faith.  Furthermore, the necessity of faith cannot be overstated.  Without faith there is no pleasing God; working from our flesh never pleases Him!  Faith received is ours to exercise.  Servants learn to allow God to work in heart-rending ways.  Where is God calling you to receive greater faith?  Will you trust Him to bring healing and wholeness?

Spending time in the presence of God

The presence of God transforms!  Do you drink it in or wonder where it is?  Is the presence of God a moment-by-moment awareness for you—or an illusionary concept?  Would you be surprised to know His presence is not always in a Church…or that the Living Word can be void of vitality?  In Acts 17, Paul spoke to those who worshiped without life:

“…so that they might look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. Of course, he is never far from any one of us. For we live, move, and exist because of him, as some of your own poets have said: ‘For we are his children, too.’” (verses 27 and 28)

It is not the heartbeat of God to have lifeless worship.  He longs for you to enjoy His presence because He wants to enjoy yours.  Are you weary of life?  If you are, spend time with LIFE and enjoy the abundance.  Without His presence, life drains the strongest. That is right and good, for God never intended that we would live this life on our own!

His Word and the Church are tools the Spirit uses to help us know what God is like…so that we can recognize His

Toni Verdú Carbó The Passage of Time

Toni Verdú Carbó
The Passage of Time

presence.  Like those in Athens, though, sometimes we mistake the tools for the Truth.  Time in the Word and time with believers are necessities in the life of a Christian…but they are not Life itself.

The echo of hearts crying, “Is this all there is?” beats at the doors of heaven.  “There is so much more!” calls the Father.  “Come, walk in the light.” And to those of us who walk in His light, the great commission still stands:  “Go, make disciples.”   Our grand purpose in life is to live in the Light of the love of the Father and help others do the same.  He longs for us to bring his light to a world covered in shadows so others may know He lives!

Those shadows conceal treasures…treasures of darkness only children of the Light can unearth.  Without the Light, the shadows terrify.  The shadows cause those in the dark to trip and fall prey to the lies of the enemy.  Jesus, the Light of the World, reveals the snares and the beauties shrouded in darkness.  When we spend time in the light, we absorb light and can be a lamp for others.  We are called to be servants!  Let’s take light into the shadows, light that exposes the pits, expels the evil and unearths precious gems!

What shadows will you illuminate today?  Can we stand with you in prayer?

 

If you struggle to enter the presence of God, some thoughts and tips can be found here.

Taking Responsibility

Deposits are made into our lives moment by moment.  What we do with those deposits is our decision…our responsibility.  Every aspect of life has the potential to produce life and blessing.  It also has equal opportunity to produce death and curses. God assigned humanity the job of caretaker of creation–and that job remains.  We are to steward all that comes into our lives with faith that God is good and has good plans and purposes for us.  Plans and purposes that conclude in victory.

This reality is especially vital to grasp when you reflect on your life and prepare a life story.  Perspective IS everything.  The legacies we inherit from our family–good and bad–are opportunities to reveal God.  We do not need to sugar-coat every hard thing in life; in fact, that is counter-productive.  However, God can be found gleaming out of the darkest points.  Determine to find His glory and your story will blaze with hope.  It will change your present and prepare the way to the future for yourself and others.

Accepting ownership of sin has power in reflection and in daily life.  Indeed, it is the key to solving all the problems in our world, but responsibility must begin with ‘me.’  Taking responsibility does not ignore the sin of others; in fact, it seeks God on behalf of that sin as well.  It is broken-hearted awareness for the natural rebellion of all–and whole-hearted passion for the rightness of God.   God told Cain to rule over sin; we do that by accepting responsibility for the problem of sin in our own lives and living to give God glory for His work.   The curse has been set aside by Jesus, for Jesus.    We are to work out what God has put into us through Christ.

When we take responsibility for that work in our own lives, the residual effect brings life into others’ hard stuff.  If God entrusts tough realities and harsh legacies to us, we can consider them invitations to seek Him for fuller revelation.  Those situations become windows for us to see and reveal the glory of God.  When we revere Him above the hard stuff, we unpack treasures for all around us!  Embrace the privilege.

For a fuller look at this topic, consider reading Whose Problem Is It?

To gain a deeper understanding of how God completes the picture beautifully, visit Glory Glimpse:  Knowing God By Name – Omega