Bred for Success: God’s Design

Bred for Success: God's Design

I had done my homework in researching breeds (I wanted something more protective than our aging Lab.), so I was only mildly concerned when our vet tech said, “From retrievers to a Belgian Mal? Brave girl!”

That concern grew when my husband’s co-worker sent him pictures of Mals wreaking havoc in a million different ways. My personal favorite is the full-grown Mal sitting proudly among the meteor-shower-hit-the-earth craters he had dug in the backyard.

Yet, for every destructive video—and there are plenty—there are stories of their protective instincts for the family they love.

God designed Belgian Mals. He also designed retrievers. Each serves a specific purpose in God’s creation. I see the same intentional design in His human creatures.

I love retrievers. We’ve had three.  Spiritually, they remind me of Jesus’ mother. Pure. Trusting. Obedient. Though worthy of imitation, Mary’s an alien to me. It took years before I trusted God as Father and truly believed in His love for me.

Peter? Paul? I get those guys. I, too, am strong-willed, opinionated, and given to extremes. I’m also fiercely loyal. To my children. To my husband. To my God. There is more Belgian Mal in me than I like to admit.

As I have learned to trust God, my obedience has improved. My husband teases me that I’m compliant. That compliance has come with training. Too many lessons came the hard way. My design, though, has never changed.

So, what’s your design? How has God bred you for success?

  1. What qualities did God give you? What talents and abilities did He gift you with? Have you ever taken the StrengthsFinder Test? (It runs about $20, but it’s money well spent.)
  2. How about spiritual gifts? (Click for Lifeway’s test.)
  3. What natural likes and dislikes do you have? With whom do you identify in the Bible? What Bible figure captures you?

Now, look where He’s placed you. Does it fit? Why or why not? Don’t train for retriever work if you’re a shepherd. Jeremiah recorded his calling in Jeremiah 1: 4-5 (NIV), “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Pray first, then fill in the blank: “I appointed you as a _____________________.”

Nail your spiritual workouts and change your corner of the gym.

Just for fun: What breed are you?

Workout of the Week: Bred for Success

Memory Verse: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

Meditation Passage: Psalm 139

Just Do It: Embrace your design.

Tweetables:

God designed Belgian Mals for a specific purpose. I see the same intentional design in His human creatures. Click to tweet.

 

Ask the Trainer

Ask The Trainer

Ask The Trainer

Workout for the Week: Ask the Trainer

Memory Verse: “ Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:8-9 (NIV)

Meditation Passage: Matthew 7: 7-11

Key Thought: You’re guaranteed a ‘Yes” to this prayer.

Gutsy. Ballsy. Traits I see in my husband and in two of my sons.

Why? Because they ask for the moon—and many times they get it.

These guys ask for everything from extra perks at a hotel to an A for missing homework, and I’m amazed how often people respond favorably.

Me? I’m hesitant to ask for anything I perceive as “extra.” However, several years ago, I was challenged to ask—to ask God for a word, a verse, or a picture of what He wanted to focus on for the new year.

2017 marks Year 3 of asking. This is no New Year’s resolution. I’m talking a yearlong training session with God Himself as your personal Trainer!

Here’s some benefits I’ve experienced from time with the Trainer:

  1. Asking for a word tunes my spiritual ears to Him as I wait for God to speak.
  2. Once God has spoken, my spiritual radar goes up regarding anything related to the word He gave.
  3. Awareness births intentionality and obedience. Because I’m aware, I’m primed to obey. During my year of margin (last year), I intentionally spent more time with the family. Saying no became easier. Decisions made themselves. I was focused because of my awareness, and I was compelled to obey.
  4. I was steeped in the subject. In my fear year (two years ago), I learned fear’s different manifestations. God made connections to things rooted in fear that I would have never identified. I dealt with fear on multiple levels in a variety of ways. I finished the year wiser, practiced, and confidant in my ability to recognize and conquer fear.
  5. I’m able to help. When God tutors you in a specific area for a year, He will use you to train and equip others.

When I received my verse for 2017, I groaned. Galatians 5:24 (NIV) reads, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” I can guess what’s coming: taming physical appetites, controlling emotions, releasing good for best. None of it sounds fun, but I know I need it. My awareness is heightened. My radar is up. Little things matter. Like not walking when I’m out for a run. Like practicing a Daniel fast with our church this month.

It’s cross training, as in take up my cross daily.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:8-9 (NIV), “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Ask, seek, knock. Once you hear from Him, keep your radar up. Training sessions can come at any moment.

Nail your spiritual workouts this week and change your corner of the gym.

Tweetables:

Ask God what He wants to focus on this year. Click to tweet.

This is no New Year’s resolution. It’s a yearlong training session with God, your personal Trainer! Click to tweet.

Tune your spiritual ears to Him. Click to tweet.

Put your spiritual radar up regarding the word He gave. Click to tweet.

Awareness births intentionality and obedience. Click to tweet.