Calling and Purpose Part 3 Being with Him

Given we all have a calling and purpose, what is our primary calling and purpose? Is it evangelism, discipleship, understanding spiritual disciplines or another of the many options that face us? I think the answer lies in something that Yahweh said to Moses.

12  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” Exodus 24:12 (NKJV)

The portion of this passage I want to highlight is the first phrase, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there.” Have you ever considered that as your primary calling and purpose, being with Jesus? What did Jesus have to say about it? In John 17, known as the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, He said the following.

24  Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24 (NKJV)

Now, we can view this as Jesus desiring that His followers join Him in heaven at death. Was that what Jesus was talking about when He said, “May be with me where I am?” Where was Jesus? When He prayed this He was on the way to Gethsemane. Is that what He meant? What about what He shared with Nicodemus.

12  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13  No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. John 3:12-13 (NKJV)

Where was Jesus when He shared this? Somewhere in Jerusalem speaking with Nicodemus and at the same time seated with His Father in heavenly places. In John 17 He didn’t pray that we would be with Him where He would be, future tense, His prayer was that His followers would experience His glory in this life. Look at more of the context of what Jesus said.

20  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24  Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25  O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26  And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 17:20-26 (NKJV)

Paul understood this and wrote about it.

1  If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3 (NKJV)


Not only is our life hidden with Jesus, He wants us to learn to dwell in His glory while here. God’s glory is His character (see Ex. 33:18-19, 34:5-7). I’m not suggesting going somewhere else but rather entering into heavenly places while here. Simply by faith sitting before Him and gazing with our spirit upon Him we enter into heavenly places and He begins to touch us. I think this is available to all of us in our walk with Him. Does it sound mystical? I suppose it does but I would frame it as a practical mysticism. Not a flight of fancy but a practical expression of faith that touches our spirt, soul and body (1 Thess. 5:23). I believe this ‘living in two places’ is our primary practical calling and purpose because, just as natural food sustains our daily physical lives so this spiritual food prepares us for the assignments He has in our lives.

After all, He calls us to come to this place.

16  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) see also Revelation 4:1-11

So, let us daily come boldly and humbly before Him and be changed by beholding His glory.

18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

Calling and Purpose Part 2 The Master Weaver

This past June we were in Scotland on vacation. When we toured Stirling Castle they had a number of beautiful tapestries on the walls. As part of the tour you could go behind the castle to a building where they made the tapestries. An interesting thing, these beautiful tapestries are like us, they don’t look that good from the backside! Yet that is where the work is being done. To create a beautiful tapestry the weaver needs to know the pattern on the front and what thread to weave in where but they are tied off at the back, out of sight when viewing the finished product.

In terms of our calling and purpose the desire of the Master Weaver is to produce a masterpiece by working in hidden places. Look at what the scriptures tell us.

21  And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight– 23  if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:21-23 (NKJV)

Paul is clear. The Master Weaver has a desire, to present us to His Father, “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” He wants to present a beautiful tapestry. Yet Paul also builds in a qualifier, “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast.”

Will we all become all that we are called to be? No, I am confident the only one who fully walked out His calling was Jesus. At the same time I believe that when we learn to cooperate with His grace we can accomplish far more than we would have imagined and I think for most of us it is more about being faithful in little things than it is about seeking to accomplish what we view as big or great things. He simply calls us to follow Him and be faithful

I heard a story once about a man who lived a simple quiet life and attended church regularly. Not much was known about him but it was revealed after he died that he had sowed over a million dollars into the mission field. This was decades ago when that amount of money was very significant. Whether the story is accurate I do not know but the principle is clear, quiet and devout faithfulness. What about a scriptural example?

25  And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Luke 2:25 (NKJV)

If you read the whole story in Luke 2 we know the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon and drew him to the temple to prophesy over the baby Messiah. There is no indication that the temple leaders or others knew Simeon nor do we read anything about him after this, though scripture implies his death was imminent. So why was he given this privilege? He was “just and devout.” What about Ananias? Do you remember him? His story is in Acts 9 where Jesus sent him to pray for Paul (Saul at that point). How is he referred to in scripture? As ‘a certain disciple (Acts 9:10).’ He was there and available and Jesus wove something into his life. We never hear of him again in scripture.

As we walk with the Master Weaver and He works on us I think the only thing that truly mars the tapestry is deliberate rebellion or refusing to follow His leading. We will stumble and make errors at times but at the end of the day I think the pieces we often see as areas of brokenness and weakness, when we overcome them, will show up as glistening gold in our tapestry.

So, as we walk with Him let’s pray that we will walk wisely and cooperate in becoming the kind of tapestry the Master Weaver wants to create out of our life.

Calling and Purpose Part 1

I am beginning this series with one verse.

2  Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV)

Imagine you sense a call from the Holy Spirit into ministry but you lack clarity on how it is to be worked out. You do however have a sense that it involves multitudes being saved. You expectantly prepare for opportunities and look forward to speaking to large crowds and seeing multitudes saved. Then, a prophetically gifted individual comes and says, “An angel appeared to me last night and said you are called to the hidden place of intercession. You are to pray for evangelist X and there will be a great harvest of souls but no one here on earth will know the part you played.”

How would you respond and why? Prior to answering that consider the idea (I do not know the exact origin though Rick Joyner mentions it in The Final Quest) that most of those who are well known on earth are little known in heaven and most who are well known in heaven are little known on earth. So as you reflect on your answer think of this question first. Where do you want to be known?

While we all have a calling and purpose I started with the call to the hidden place because I think it is the most difficult. I referenced intercession first but it is one hidden calling among many. What if we are called to obscurely labour as a mother raising godly children? Billy Graham’s mother did not know she was raising who Billy Graham became. Susanna Wesley did not know what John and Charles were called to become. What if from the world’s perspective and standards we never do anything significant? Have you ever considered that in the scriptures we know nothing or next to nothing about the first 12 apostles beyond Pentecost? Matthew, Peter and John wrote portions of the NT and John’s brother James was an early martyr. Regarding the other 8, nothing is really written about them beyond the beginning of the book of Acts. They were little known on earth. Do you think they were well known in heaven?

At the end of the day our significance will be measured by one thing, how we lived out the verse I started with.

2  Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit spoke it to my heart in the mid 1990’s and I have never forgotten it. While what we do may be expressed in many different callings and purposes the true measure of how heaven views us is how faithful we were with our calling and purpose. When I retired in April I began playing Pickle Ball with Carol. I enjoy the game. It is a healthy recreational outlet. Recently she said one lady told her she improved a lot when she played every day. In our conversation we both agreed Pickle Ball was something we enjoyed but was not what our life was about. I said I couldn’t imagine standing at the Judgement Seat and Jesus asking me what I did with this life He gave me and responding, “I was really good at Pickle Ball.” That kind of puts it in perspective!

The tagline I use on my blog and email signature is, “An Eternal Perspective: Living in time, preparing for eternity” It was something that came to me a few years ago and is the way I want to live my life. I always want to maintain an eternal perspective. For example, recently in Invermere the neighbour invited me to go boating with him on the lake. The problem was we would get back really late. I responded it wouldn’t work because I needed to be up at 5:30. I didn’t tell him why I had to be up that early but I have a regular early morning appointment. Now if  I had some sense from the Holy Spirit that I needed to go because of something deeper that would happen I would have gone. Without that leading my focus is on keeping my appointment.

In conclusion, as we ponder the place of hiddeness consider what Jesus said.

10  He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10 (NKJV)

Prophetic Possibilities Part 3

In my last two posts I have provided some examples of ‘prophetic possibilities.’ Here I want to dig a little deeper into the scriptural foundation. As part of that I think a quote from Mike Bickle helps us maintain our focus. He said, “The Holy Spirit gives us prophetic impressions not so we can be known as a prophet, but in order to help other people.” (Mike Bickle, Growing in the Prophetic page 54, 2008 version). This fits with 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul lays out that love should be the motivating force in our exercise of spiritual gifts.

So, what of the scriptural foundation? The bedrock is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Scripture tells us that one outcome of the birthing of the church in the First Century is all believers, men and women, would be able to prophesy (Acts 2:18). If we still doubt, Paul was very explicit.

31  For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 1 Corinthians 14:31 (NKJV)

More importantly, Jesus told us we should be able to hear His voice and follow it.

4  And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10:4 (NKJV)

27  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 (NKJV)

Jesus here is describing how natural shepherds functioned in Israel and applying it to Himself. The sheep grew up around the shepherd and became familiar with the shepherd’s voice. When the shepherd wanted to lead them somewhere the sheep were called and followed the shepherd because they knew the shepherd’s voice. His expectation was, and is, that through spending time with Him we will learn to hear His voice and when He calls we will respond and follow.

What else do we have for scriptural support? How about a passage that says nothing about spiritual gifts but rather about knowing the mind of Christ? After all, if we are to speak on Jesus behalf we want to share His heart not ours.

9  But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13  These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:9-13 (NKJV)

In this passage Paul references the OT teaching of not knowing the things Yahweh knows. He then says the way we know the mind of God is by paying attention to the Spirit of God within us because He wants to reveal the things of God to willing hearts. Let me be very practical here. I had written this post and was going to send it out but I had no peace in my heart (Col. 3:15 says His peace is to be our guide and decision maker). After I went to bed and reflected on it the Holy Spirit gave me some insight on what to write and I rewrote it.

This is an example of hearing the voice of my Shepherd. Over the years I have learned that one way to know His voice is peace, or lack thereof. In fact I think this is one of the most common ways He speaks to His children. Many times there has been some ‘good’ thing I wanted to do but there was a small nagging sense of unease within. The times I paid attention His peace came and I changed direction. More than once I ignored this and pressed ahead only to not have things work out.

So yes, I am still learning to pay attention to the voice of my Shepherd and have had enough experience being obedient to know that He never has, and never will, lead me astray. So, let’s be sheep who want to just be around our Shepherd so we can hear His heart and speak life into the hearts of others.

A fellow sheep:-)

Prophetic Possibilities Part 2

10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

How do we view these good works? Are they grand and powerful encounters with other people where they stand in awe of the power of God? At times I believe they are and I have had some experience in that regard. Yet, most of the time for most of us; whether we are a school teacher, homemaker, plumber, accountant, or fall anywhere else in a long list of callings and responsibilities, the opportunities arise in the context of our daily lives.

In essence, God in His sovereignty has woven these opportunities into our day to day lives and they may take a variety of forms. I exercised an opportunity this past Sunday afternoon. A couple of young Mormon missionaries had been around so I arranged to meet with them the Sunday afternoon. They asked if they could bring a fellow named Keith and said he was a recent convert. Turned out he was the head of their missions program for the area and has been a Mormon for almost four decades, not sure how they define ‘recent.’

This experience stirred in me questions around the need for revelation in our interactions. In spite of their allegations of ‘changes’ to the scriptures and related things I used evidence to get them to agree the scriptures we have today are accurate. What was interesting in this was that at the end of our hour together the following things; history, logic and facts, had no discernable impact on them. They still wanted me to read the book of Mormon and pray to know it was true.

As I reflected on the encounter I wondered if words of knowledge would have moved them. Yet as I sought to listen I didn’t have anything specific from the Holy Spirit to share with them, I simply spoke truth to them and was saddened by the level of deception they operated from.

So, was this a ‘good work’ my Father had prepared beforehand for me to walk in? I believe it was. I sought to walk in obedience and shared truth with them in a gentle and respectful way. The fruit of it was not their salvation at the time (my hope) but it doesn’t mean it won’t be for one or all three of them down the road.

Where the ‘prophetic possibilities’ part comes in is that I had a spiritual burden for one of the young men. When they first came to my door and a couple of week later when we met I could discern a calling on his life so I spent some time praying for him before and after we met because I believe that is why the Holy Spirit showed me. The rest I leave in His hands.