Category Archives: Called and Chosen

Zechariah – A man who prayed without ceasing

Zechariah was a devout man who observed all of the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly (Luke 1:6). If there was ever a man whose prayers should have been answered, it was Zechariah. Yet, he prayed for many years for a child with no success! After so many years of seemingly futile prayer (for Zechariah and Elizabeth were very old), Zechariah could have taken umbrage with God. If not that, he could have said in his heart that it was not God’s will for his life that he have a child..

But no, Zechariah was a man who understood that he was to be persistent in his seeking and knocking.

For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened – Luke 11:10 (AMP) 

For Zechariah to be persistent in his prayer required that he marry himself to the journey of praying and divorce himself from its outcome. In other words, he had to let go (not look at whether his prayer was paying dividend) but not give up (continue praying). Zechariah was able to let go because he understood that the eyes of the Lord are perpetually roaming the earth to make Himself strong on behalf of those that trust Him (2 Chronicles 16:9). He was able to wait on the Lord for a long time because he knew that those who wait on the Lord will not be ashamed.

As we know, Zachariah’s trust in the Lord (faith), his patience, and his persistence (perseverance) ultimately paid off! He was told by angel Gabriel that he would have a child.

Moreover, his faith and patience was rewarded with an extraordinary child. His child was John the Baptist: A man who was a joy and a delight, whom many rejoiced over, who was great in the sight of the Lord, who brought back the people of Israel to God, reconciled parents and children, and prepared the way for Jesus (see Luke 1:14-16).  His child was a man whom Jesus called the greatest man to ever live (Luke 7:28).

Consider this: Perhaps God loved Zechariah so much that he wanted him to father the fore-runner for Jesus. Perhaps He made Zechariah wait so that He could bestow that honor unto him. Just because we may not know what God is up to does not mean He is up to nothing!

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised – Hebrews 6:12

Here are a 3 things the story of Zechariah encourages us to do when it seems God has forgotten about our prayer requests.

Stay loyal to God

Our level of loyalty will determine our level of royalty. We must stay loyal and devoted to God not matter the circumstance in our life. God knows what He is doing. We must not equate delay with denial.

Stay Persistent 

Persistence is the key to winning in life. Winston Churchill is quoted to have said that success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss in enthusiasm. Others put it this way: Failures fail once and quit. Successful people fail may times but never give up.

Stay Patient Until it is Time

John the Baptist was worth the wait for Zechariah. In fact, Zechariah became immortalized in history because of the birth of his son. If God closes a door today, it is because he has a better door in store for you. Perhaps it goes without saying, but we must walk through the door that God does open. E.g. Though Zechariah was told he was to have a son, he still had to play his part by being intimate with his wife.

Food for Thought: God answers our prayers when the time is right!


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How Can I Get Doors of Opportunity to Open for Me?

Called and Chosen to Execute – Bezalel

For a minute imagine that you are an architect. What a great honor it would be if the pope asked you to build the next great cathedral or the Queen of England asked you to build her a castle! It would not only be a great honor but it would the opportunity of a lifetime. Your name would be immediately stamped in history and people would read about you and get to know your works long after you were gone. Moreover, you would not have to worry about finding work anymore, and financial worries would be a thing of the past.

This is exactly what happened to Bezalel. Once day, Moses called out to him and told him that God had selected him to build His (God’s) house.

I bet the other skilled architects must have wondered within themselves, why Bezalel and not us; we are just as highly skilled as he is! Not finding a suitable answer to this question, it would not surprise me if many of them simply put it down to luck. But luck had nothing to do with it.

Luck hardly ever has anything to do with being chosen. What may look like luck is usually the hand of God in action.

I reckon many of them were called to be great architects. I would wager that many were filled with the spirit of wisdom, ability, knowledge, understanding, and intelligence in all works of craftsmanship. Yet, only one was called by name (chosen).

If you have been filled with the Spirit of God, then you have been filled with the spirit of wisdom, ability, knowledge, understanding, and intelligence to prosper you in everything you do. It means you have the ability to be called by name just as Bezalel was called by name. Even so, to be chosen you must not just have the ability of Bezalel but you must have the character of Bezalel.

To have ability is to have potential; to be chosen to fulfill potential requires character

Bezalel’s Character

Honesty and Integrity: Large sums of gold, silver, bronze, and clothing were required to build God’s house. Bezalel knew how much of each material was needed to build the house to specifications based on his skill. When the people started to bring more material than was required, he promptly told Moses to tell the people to stop the collection (Exodus 36:5-7).

Bezalel could have stashed away some of the superfluous material for himself. He could have colluded with the other artisans to make a profit. But he did not do this. He did not allow his eyes to become greedy nor did he covet the gold and silver. His thinking did not become selfish. He did not say: what am I getting paid to do this work? He did not convince himself that it was his right to take of some of the collected material. He did not want to defraud the people of their belongings by continuing to collect unneeded supplies.

Would you have done the same if you were Bezalel?

Patience  and Obedience: Moses looked at the work Bezalel did and saw that he had done it just as God commanded, therefore Moses blessed him (Exodus 39:43). Since we know that the children came to the wilderness of Sinai in the 3rd month after the start of the journey out of Egypt (Exodus 19:1) but the tabernacle was not raised until the 2nd year of the exodus (Exodus 40:17), we see that it took a while for Bezalel to be paid for his work. He did not know he was to be paid and was only paid after the work was completed. Thus the honor of doing the work in obedience to the will of God was enough for him.

Can you say the same? Are you focused on what you have been called to do or are you focused on the blessing?

Moreover, he did not doubt the instruction that Moses gave him. He could have said to himself, I know a better way to do this work, let me change this and change that. No! He let God be God, forgot about his own opinion, and did exactly what God commanded through Moses. He would have missed out on his blessing if he had not obeyed without adding or subtracting a thing.

Is this you or do you mix your own way with God’s way?

Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it – Deuteronomy 12:32

Good Steward: Moses only saw what Bezalel made when he brought it to him (Exodus 39:43). Thus the only way Moses knew how much gold and silver was used (Exodus 38:25) is because Bezalel was a good steward of all materials used. Bezalel was an overseer of the work that was being done and ensured that nothing was wasted.

Are you a good steward of everything God as given you? Are you a good steward over your time and resource? Are you disciplined enough in your stewardship?

The way we answer these questions will ultimately determine whether we reach our full potential or if our lives will be summed up by could have, should have, and would have!

Food for Thought: Dedicate yourself to honesty, integrity, patience, unwavering obedience to God, and good stewardship and you will see great doors of opportunity swing wide open for you.

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Called and Chosen to Influence – Ezekiel the Watchman

A priest is an ordinary person who has been called to be in a position of influence! Though priests exert considerable influence today, they were the pinnacle of influence in times past when there was no separating religion from politics; when there was no distinguishing between ‘church’ and ‘state’.  

Ezekiel, being a priest in the house of the Lord was called to be influential. Though he had no formal authority (for he was not a king), he had plenty of power to influence the elders of Judah and the overall population.

Now, since the scriptures tell us that we are a member of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) in Christ, it is clear that we are now all priests! This means that we have all been called to be people of influence in our society. Therefore, we can no longer idly stand by in our communities while circumstances deteriorate! We cannot simply say ‘there is nothing I can do’. No, there is something we can do!

Light-bulb moment: As believers, we are all called to exert positive influence over our society.

While we may not have the authority and resource to change the world around us, the least we can do is be a watchman! This is what God called Ezekiel to be in a time when there was seemingly nothing he could do – for he was in captivity with the rest of Judah. Here is what the Lord specifically spoke to Ezekiel about being a watchman:

 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways

Light-bulb moment: We can exert positive influence over our society by being watchmen

Here are 3 important truths this passage of scripture tells us about watchmen.

Responsibilities of a watchman

  1. Watchmen are responsible to speak only what the Lord relates to them; they are not to be originators of their own words. In other words, we have to take ourselves out of the equation – it is not about what we think or what we want to say, it is about listening to God to receive what He says. Just as God gave Ezekiel the words to speak, He will give us the words to speak as well (Ezekiel 3:10).
  2. Watchmen are not responsible for the outcome; they are responsible to obey God in doing and saying what God has asked of them. The outcome depends on the individual or the society the watchmen are responsible to guard
  3. Watchmen are held responsible for their disobedience. In other words, they bear the guilt for the demise of the society or of the individual if they fail to perform their duty. Hence, failure to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to speak into the life of an individual is a costly matter. When God tells us to act, societal norms need to get out of the way. But ‘he is my boss’ or but ‘I am shy’ are no excuses! ‘What will people think if I do this or say that’ many times is what leads to the prolonged suffering and unnecessary deaths of people we have been called to watch over. Friends, you and I have been called to be watchmen!  Indeed, we must pick up the mantle of being a watchman and exert positive influence on our societies if we are ever going to see the world change.

Light-bulb moment: The society perishes when there are no faithful watchmen.

Characteristics of a watchman

While God has called all of us to be watchmen, not everyone is chosen to be a watchman. As an analogy, just because we have passed all the qualification exams in school does not mean we automatically get hired. We have to go through an interview process where we are evaluated.  The same is true of God. He will choose only those who have passed the evaluation. The evaluation that Ezekiel passed is hidden in the following verses:

The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.” Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.” “Very well,” He said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.” – Ezekiel 4:13-15

Here are 3 important truths these passages reveal about the characteristics of watchmen

  1. Watchmen have a proven record of obedience: Ezekiel said that he had never defiled himself even from his youth. This shows he was obedient to observe all the ordinances of a Nazirite. If Ezekiel would not compromise his Nazirite vow, God understood that he would not compromise His word.
  2. Watchmen are bold and courageous: Ezekiel spoke back to God and objected to God’s initial prompting to defile himself. How bold and courageous! By this, God understood nothing was going to move Ezekiel into rebellion. Unlike the other elders of Judah, He was going to stay steadfast no matter the situation.
  3. Watchmen have a heart of love and integrity: Ezekiel could have cowered and done what the Lord wanted Him to do disdainfully. Instead, He was bold and courageous to entreat God not to defile himself. In essence, he was saying: ‘God, I love you too much and love myself too much to defile myself’. As a result, God changed His mind for Ezekiel. By this God understood that Ezekiel had a heart full of integrity.

As a side note, we should ask God if we are not sure about His instruction. Moreover, just like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, we can ask him to change his mind about what He is asking us to do. Of course like Jesus, we must say ‘not my will, but Your will be done’.

Food for Thought: To be successful watchmen, we must be strong and courageous to obey the voice of God in love no matter what!

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Called and Chosen to Rule – Joseph the Son of Jacob

Why was Joseph called and chosen to rule over all the land of Egypt? Is it because he had the gift of interpreting dreams? No, the gift is NOT what got him his position!

See, Joseph would never have been called to speak to the Pharaoh and so would not have been given the opportunity to show his God-given discernment and wisdom IF he had not first shown love – concern and compassion  – to his fellow inmates. Here is what the bible says about Joseph:

And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?” And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.” – Genesis 40:6-8

Listen to me and please understand that the reason why God is choosing you to be great is NOT because of your gifts and talents, but because of your heart for His people! If Joseph (though a prisoner himself) had not first taken the initiative to look at his fellow prisoners, he would have missed the opportunity to interpret their dreams. If he had not interpreted the dreams, the butler would not have told Pharaoh about Joseph (see Genesis 41:9-14).

But you are different!  You take the opportunity to look at the people around you. Though you may be in the same situation as they are, you still care enough to take notice of their expression (just like Joseph). You do not want people to be weighed down by sadness, doubt and uncertainty, but you want them to experience joy and peace right in the middle of whatever they are going through. This is why you take the initiative to look at the people! This is what you do when you go about taking notice of where there is need in your outreaches.

But you do not stop there, once you see a need, you are moved with compassion. You care enough to ask people what is wrong with them (just like Joseph). Although you have a destination and an agenda, you create time to be salt and light to those around you. You are NOT like the priest and Levite who were so consumed with their own agenda, but you are as the Good Samaritan who, being moved with love and compassion, stopped to pour out wine (the Holy Spirit) and oil (the anointing or empowerment of the Holy Spirit) on the wounds of the man who was hurt (see Luke 10:34). You are as Jesus, who being anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, went about doing good and healing those who were oppressed of the devil (see Acts 10:38).

But there is more, you are called and chosen to rule today because you also say words of life, truth, wisdom, and encouragement that God gives to you. In your humility, you offer people the water of the word so that they are not left thirsty. Instead, you fill them up and they go about refreshed and encouraged. Oh, how your words have changed the countenance and facial expression of many people around you – all to the glory of God! Just as Joseph offered the prisoners hope that their dreams could be interpreted by saying ‘do not interpretations belong to God’, you are offering people hope through your words

Lastly, you show people love. You just do not tell them that hope exists – by saying God is able – but you actually plead with people to show them the love of God (just like Joseph). You say to people through your actions, ‘You have been hoping that I can help you… I am both able AND willing.’ This is what Joseph did when he not only told the prisoners that God could interpret their dreams but followed it up by actually asking the prisoners to tell him. Remember how the man with leprosy said to Jesus ‘if you are willing, you can heal me?’ Remember how Jesus said ‘I am willing’, and then cleansed him? This is what you are doing when you say ‘tell me your problems so I can offer you the solution’.

Hallelujah! The solution inside of you is Jesus and just like Joseph, you are showing the power of love by looking, asking, saying, and showing.

When you noticed a need and volunteered your gift of interpretation, this is what you did – you showed love.

God is not going to forget that. It is because of this heart of compassion that God will use your gift and talent he has given you to put you in front of Pharaoh. Then you shall be put in charge of the whole land. All this because you have dared to love!

Food for thought: Love is always the key that is propelling you into your destiny. Wait for it, your audience with the Pharaoh is coming!

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Called and Chosen to Leadership – Joseph the Husband of Mary

The relationship between Joseph and Mary was orchestrated by God to achieve His purpose. Joseph was chosen to be with Mary because he was a ‘just and devout’ man who completely surrendered himself to the voice of God. Unlike the Prophet Jonah, he was a man who carried out the instructions of God without hesitation and without retort no matter how uncomfortable it made him feel. His obedient to love (God) was instant and unquestionable

If you know the story of Joseph, then you know that he cared about what God thought above what everybody else thought. He was a man who put his confidence in God. He was a man who neither considered the unrighteous judgment of man nor paid attention to his own fleeting and changing emotions but was devoted solely to God. He simply did not talk about putting God above man, but had the seemingly rare quality of actually walking that talk.

Light-bulb moment: The most important thing in choosing a partner is choosing someone who will obey the voice of God above all else – even above our own selfish wants and needs.

See, Joseph had to believe the unbelievable. He had to take the word of God over the reality of the present situation. While common sense and reality dictated that Mary was no virgin – for she was pregnant – Joseph chose to believe Mary and angel Gabriel.  Can you imagine the ridicule Joseph faced in his community? I am sure ‘foolish’ and ‘stupid’ are some of the choice words that many people used to describe him. Can you imagine the number of people that must have pulled him aside and given him ‘wise counsel’?

Quite frankly, Joseph must have been the laughing stock of his time – if not for staying with Mary, then for believing in Mary’s story and paying attention to his own ‘imagined’ vision. Can you fathom the humiliation Joseph endured especially in those times? Thankfully, Joseph knew that the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man (1 Corinthians 1:25)

In truth, what Joseph made up his mind to believe was and is still unprecedented! What about you? Would you believe it if someone who was pregnant told you they were still a virgin? I certainly know I would have my doubts even if I had a dream about it. But Joseph was a man who truly trusted God; a man of great resolve!

Light-bulb moment: History making often requires believing the unbelievable!

Imagine what would have happened if he had not promptly obeyed the voice of God to leave Bethlehem for Egypt? His family would have unlikely escaped the murderous hand of Herod and perhaps another woman would have had to be chosen for the Immaculate Conception. Thankfully Joseph obeyed and so led his family into a foreign land. In reality, his obedience to the word of God is what ultimately destined him to be immortalized in the bible.

Light-bulb moment: Our obedience to God is the key to fulfilling our destiny

How unbelievable that God decided to place the fate of the savior in the hands of Joseph; He placed the fate of the entire world on the leadership of one man. He did not place it in the hands of a rich, resourceful, and powerful man who commanded armies and could easily provide protection. Instead, He placed it into the hands of a simple carpenter with modest belongings BUT who would not be swayed by public opinion. He put it into the hands of a true leader!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: A true leader is someone who submits himself to following the will of God. In reality, leadership is easy when all we are doing is following the instruction of God.

The story of Joseph also shows us the heart of God. He chooses to use man to accomplish his purpose. He does this not because He wants to share His glory but because He wants His glory to be reflected to other men so they may be drawn to Him. See, it may be that when other men see that God favors us and see His work through us that they are directed to Him – it is when they want to know him.

If we want to be chosen to fulfill something great, we have to prove ourselves to be completely surrendered to the will of God just like Joseph. Just like Joseph, we have to care not for our own thoughts or the thoughts of others, be people of great resolve and character, and obey God’s voice promptly!

Light-bulb moment: The key to being chosen by God is not our ability but our availability.

See, God chose Joseph to shepherd Mary because He knew the character of the man. My prayer is that we all grow to be Joseph’s; to be completely in love with God so that we are not simply called onto greatness but that we are chosen to achieve it.

Light-bulb moment: As children of God, we have been called to greatness. It is out love for God that determines whether we are chosen.

Food for Thought: You may be with the person you are with to achieve a greater purpose in life

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