Thursday, November 5, 2009

Max Lucado November 5 Message

Read Your Life Backwards

I love reading what Max Lucado has to say. When I read his writings, I just want to jump up and shout "Hallelujah".

His words this week commence with this verse:

God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:13 NCV
I am seeing this particular movement going on in people's hearts and minds. The post I just wrote about the Life in The Spirit seminar going on in Ridgetown is about God moving in the hearts and minds of my friend and his wife sparking them to action, and action that pleases God.

What God said about Jeremiah, he said about you: “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work” (Jer. 1:5 NCV).

Set apart for a special work.

God shaped you according to yours. How else can you explain yourself? Your ability to diagnose an engine problem by the noise it makes, to bake a cake without a recipe. You knew the Civil War better than your American history teacher. You know the name of every child in the orphanage. How do you explain such quirks of skill?

God. He knew young Israel would need a code, so he gave Moses a love for the law. He knew the doctrine of grace would need a fiery advocate, so he set Paul ablaze. And in your case, he knew what your generation would need and gave it. He designed you. And his design defines your destiny. Remember Peter’s admonition? “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Pet. 4:11).

I encountered walking proof of this truth on a trip to Central America. Dave, a fellow American, was celebrating his sixty-first birthday with friends at the language school where my daughter was studying Spanish. My question—“What brings you here?”—opened a biographical floodgate. Drugs, sex, divorce, jail—Dave’s first four decades read like a gangster’s diary. But then God called him. Just as God called Moses, Paul, and millions, God called Dave.

His explanation went something like this. “I’ve always been able to fix things. All my life when stuff broke, people called me. A friend told me about poor children in Central America, so I came up with an idea. I find homes with no fathers and no plumbing. I install sinks and toilets and love kids. That’s what I do. That’s what I was made to do.”

Sounds like Dave has found the cure for the common life. He’s living in his sweet spot. What about you? What have you always done well? And what have you always loved to do?

That last question trips up a lot of well-meaning folks. God wouldn’t let me do what I like to do—would he? According to Paul, he would. “God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him” (Phil. 2:13 NCV). Your Designer couples the “want to” with the “be able to.” Desire shares the driver’s seat with ability. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4 NIV). Your Father is too gracious to assign you to a life of misery. As Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Human life would seem to consist in that in which each man most delights, that for which he especially strives, and that which he particularly wishes to share with his friends.”

So go ahead; reflect on your life. What have you always done well and loved to do?

Some find such a question too simple. Don’t we need to measure something? Aptitude or temperament? We consult teachers and tea leaves, read manuals and horoscopes. A Love Worth GivingWe inventory spiritual gifts and ancestors. While some of these strategies might aid us, a simpler answer lies before us. Or, better stated, lies within us.

The oak indwells the acorn. Read your life backward and check your supplies. Rerelish your moments of success and satisfaction. For in the merger of the two, you find your uniqueness.

When Max speaks about Dave, who he met on his trip to Central America, I am reminded of a dear friend, who along with his mother was abandoned by his father in his teens. Seeking his father's love, and also angry at how his life was turned upside down, my friend followed his father to Calgary, where he got himself into very deep trouble. He now has healed gun shot wounds on his body, and the scars of fights as well. He served time, and was involved with the mob. But, along the way, he met God face to face, the way God wants it to be for all of us. His story is a story of God's Redemptive love, and of his desire to give it all back to Him. I am hoping to read the details of his story soon, and share some of them with my readers, because it is an inspiration.

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