2 years ago, the local Government provided me with sufficient funds to get through the first year of Covid.
I didn't know about these funds.
Someone else found out about them, and helped me claim them.
But I had to Call upon the Council, Claim the funds, and then Command where they went.
Our Christian walk with God is similar.
Call Claim Command
Near the beginning of the first lockdown, I met a wise woman. I’d met her before in a different guise but didn’t recognise how wise she was. She is the landlady of my business.
“Sign this,” she said. I did. As if by magic, a few days later, my business got support sufficient to get us through the first year of C19. My landlady had the knowledge and a plan… both of which I was ignorant of. This teaches me a lot. What would you learn from it?
“Out there,” is a lot of help waiting for you. Whether you’re legally entitled to it, or whether it’s gracious provision – it’s there… inert until you act. Hence this article: Call, Claim, Command. Potential and performance are worlds apart sometimes.
I’m going to take a Christian viewpoint but if you don’t share my faith, the principles will work well for you in business too… you’ll have to spin the message into a humanistic framework.
It’s a bit like, “Ghostbusters.” When there’s something wrong in your neighbourhood, who are you going to call? My good lady and I are under legal requirement to isolate for 10 days. If we go out – even for food and essentials – we can be fined. How blessed we are then to have good neighbours who are more than willing to help.
Solomon was wise. He gathered proverbs including this one:
“Don’t forsake your friend and your father’s friend.
Don’t go to your brother’s house in the day of your disaster.
A neighbour who is near is better than a distant brother.”
The Book of Proverbs chapter 27 verse 10
For the practising Christian (and discipleship takes a lot of practice), we must CALL upon YHWH first and foremost.
When Peter looked to Jesus – the equivalent of calling upon YHWH – he was able to defy gravity and walk on the water, just as Jesus could. When Peter’s attention drifted to the waves and the wind, his performance became like the rest of ours… he sank beneath the circumstances. As the cliché too often goes, “How are you?” “I’m fine, under the circumstances.”
Whether you believe the Biblical Narrative or not, here’s a truth:
Faith follows focus.
Or if you wish to get psychological:
Performance follows perception.
You and I are immersed in an era (and error) of over-clocked fear. C19 is real. It’s a killer. But to focus on it until, “Fear follows focus,” is to do the world a disservice – and to damage our natural immune response.
Thanks to advances in science, Penny and I will survive, and we may even end up stronger – more immune. But several of my friends and connections have died. This is real. How we focus on it is important.
If you are a practising Christian, it is now a matter of life or death that you learn to, “Consider Jesus.” This means to focus on Him even in the midst of the worst of circumstances.
I took enormous comfort from The Good News Translation (Today’s English Version) of the famous Shepherd Psalm.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in fields of green grass
and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
as he has promised.
Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
I will not be afraid, Lord,
for you are with me.
Your shepherd's rod and staff protect me.
You prepare a banquet for me,
where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honoured guest
and fill my cup to the brim.
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
and your house will be my home as long as I live.
The first lines say it all for me, “The Lord (i.e.YHWH) is my Shepherd; I have everything I need.”
This is the Ultimate example of “Who Not How.” We do not know how we are going to solve the many challenges we face, but it doesn’t matter because we are in the hands of the Ultimate “Who”.
“Look to Jesus!” must be our Call to Action.
Let’s explore this using an Olympic metaphor.
This was the renewed focus of The British Olympic Rowing Squad. It drastically changed their performance NOT their potential. It brought their performance into alignment with their existing potential.
When it came to making a choice, each member would ask themselves, “Will this make the boat go faster?” If the answer was, “No!” they chose ‘life’ for the dream instead.
You have always had potential. I don’t think that’s going to increase or diminish. Performance is the issue.
We have our own, “Will this make the boat go faster?” filter. It is:
“What does the Word say?”
If our choices are out of alignment with the Word, the decision needs to be made in line with the Word.
Some would see this as extreme fundamentalism. They may be right.
However, I am reminded of the Ancient Liar’s first and abiding challenge in The Garden of Eden, “Did God say?”
The devil is defeated but he has no future hope. What else can he do but make life ‘hell’ for as many people as he can in what little time he’s got left? Wouldn’t you do the same?
For many Christians, “Did God say?” has become a badge of honour. They spin the Scriptures to justify coming into alignment with the patterns of this age, perhaps forgetting what it says in The Letter to the Romans, chapter 12, verse 2:
“DO NOT be conformed to the patterns of this age but be being transformed by the making new of your mind.”
If you are to PERFORM well, you must have a Call to Action as strong as, “Will it make the boat go faster.” I suggest, “What does the Bible say?” is a great place to start. Make it a non-negotiable.
The warrior, St Paul, did not say, “Put on the white robe of righteousness.” White robes are for the victorious when we go to Heaven. They are not for now. Now, we are to put on the armour of God – the FULL armour of God. Why? So that we can stand firm.
Every piece is needed for victory:
· The Belt of Truth – we are to speak the Truth of the Word in love.
· The Breastplate of Righteousness – protecting our heart from out of which flow the forces of Life
· Feet agile, prepared, ready to share the Good News of Peace
· The Shield of Faith with which we can extinguish EVERY fiery dart of the evil one – that means not a single flaming arrow needs to get through
· The Helmet of Salvation – guarding your thoughts, your mind, your will, your emotions
· The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God
· AND Praying in the Spirit on all occasions.
Some of us have so blunted our swords that we would really need to remove most of Paul’s Epistles from the Canon of Scripture. St Paul is not fashionable… far from it.
The Ideal of Chivalry is a useful one for the Modern Christian. It is a system of spiritual, moral, and social codes. My own simple version is threefold:
· The creation and appreciation of Beauty – as part of our Devotion and Worship of God
· The pursuit of Adventure – a passion for a Life lived to the full
· The commitment to fight the good fight (for causes that are right!)
If you don’t believe in the devil, there are evils aplenty for you to fight:
· Slavery (tens of thousands of people are in slavery in… yes, the UK!)
· Sickness and Disease
This is not the time to rest. No, not yet.
The funds the Government provided to help me through year 1 of Covid were there for the asking. I didn’t know about them, so I would have missed out. I needed to take action.
Consider well the fact that my landlady couldn’t take that action for me. She could point me in the right direction. She even printed out the forms to sign. But she couldn’t claim what was ‘mine’.
All Christians have birthrights. All Christians have access to blessings of a better covenant than the one sealed through the blood of bulls, goats, sheep…
Most Christians spend their prayer lives waiting for their ‘landlady’ to do something!
Let’s rejoice that our Eternal Landlord has done what needs to be done.
Now it is time for us to seize our birthright.
The breakthrough begins with insight into the information given.
What World Faith has the riches we have?
We have easy access (in the West) to His great and precious promises. How sad then that I’d often prefer to watch Netflix. What’s happened to our passion?
Being ill has helped.
Losing friends has helped enormously.
“Beauty comes of all things… eventually.”
It most certainly doesn’t feel like this is the truth, but treat yourself to this TED Talk:
This also helps my understanding of why God has failed me.
My faith was in Psalm 91. Immunity from sickness and disease.
Not only did I catch C19, I also fell downstairs! No angels lifting me up. No protection from the ‘plague’!
What went wrong?
Not His Word.
Not His promises.
If I’d not received help from the Government, whose responsibility would that have been?
We must learn how to claim, correctly.
Psalm 91 does not offer blanket protection.
It offers a place of protection for those of us who have discovered the location of a secret:
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
I can honestly say I don’t yet know that place… ergo the rest of the psalm lies in the realm of potential not performance. Of course, I’m looking!
God has specifically hidden many of the blessings so that they are only accessible to those who make an effort. The West peddles a soft Christianity that delivers soft results.
I’ll let you know how I get on with the quest to find the Secret Place of The Most High and the Shadow of El Shaddai.
In the meantime, learn where to point your sword! The Sword of the Spirit is an offensive weapon! Point the pointy end at your adverse circumstances and command them to change!
· Jesus spoke TO the fig tree
· Jesus spoke TO sickness and disease and fever
· Jesus spoke TO demons (yeah, I know, we don’t believe in them today, do we?)
· Jesus said to speak TO the mountain
· Jesus spoke TO the wind and the waves
· Jesus spoke TO the devil… and pointed the pointy bit of His Sword AT the Enemy.
Let us go and do likewise.
Sometimes we’re praying to God when we should be saying to the circumstances.
Ooo, there is much to learn, but when we do learn to Call, to Claim, and to Command, miracles may follow.