ARE YOU BIRTHING AN ISAAC OR ISHMAEL MINISTRY?

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Two years ago, I decided to go back to work. Prior to having a family, I taught Public Speaking and other Communication classes at University of San Diego and San Diego State University. I didn’t want to go back to teaching, and so I felt at a loss as to what I could do. My sister, Linda, suggested I do Catholic/Christian Life Coaching and that I work with people the way my Aunt Betty has worked with me. My Aunt Betty has had me get down and do the hard work of looking at the parts of myself that are in arrogance, anxiety, self-pity, pride, judgment, perfectionism, comparison, etc. If I’m in denial of these parts, then I will be judgmental towards others with similar faults, until I can learn to accept them in myself. The benefit of looking at our sins and weaknesses is that when God heals them, we can look at another person struggling with those same sins and weaknesses, and have mercy on them, rather than criticize them. We truly know in our heart, “But for the grace of God, there goeth I.” It’s my Perfectionist who puts heavy demands on me and others. I’m slowly beginning to fire her.

Recently, my Aunt Betty said that I needed to make the choice to really cry out to the Lord and say, “Out of the depths of my heart, I cry unto Thee. Oh Lord, hear my prayer.” (Psalm 130:1) My assignment has been to say this prayer repeatedly, until my heart is truly changed. She said I need to go into these depths in order to be effective in helping move others. She told me to keep “chewing” on Psalm 130, until the truth changes my heart.

When I decided to do the Catholic Life Coaching, a good priest friend cautioned me not to move into it too fast. I took his wisdom and only worked with the people God sent my way. I had a sense that God wanted me to do more of my interior work, before He had me busy up my schedule. I wrote an excerpt on my blog entitled, “Manner, Timing, and Intensity,” whereby my Aunt Betty describes the importance of discerning the proper manner, timing, and intensity. She said out of the three components in discernment, most people fail to discern the proper timing. Often, they move ahead impulsively, rather than wait on God’s timing. Although I wanted to do more life coaching, I waited on God, and looking back, I’m grateful that I did. I’ve grown so much in the last two years.

I read a book called Victory in the Wilderness, by John Bevere. Bevere talks about the importance of waiting on God’s timing rather than pushing ahead on our own strength. In his Wilderness book, the chapter entitled, “Refine or Devour,” struck me. Bevere starts off saying:

“When a man builds apart from God…whether it is his life, home, or even a ministry—it will not endure. The bigger the building, the deeper and more extensive its foundation. The foundation is being laid and the character of Christ is being formed. By waiting on God, they allow the Master Builder to lay a good solid foundation on the Rock. God himself is preparing their foundation.

God separates those who will wait on him from those who will do things on their own strength. Bevere says: “There are Isaac ministries and there are Ishmael ministries. What is the difference? Ishmael ministries are born of need, but birthed by flesh. Isaac ministries are born of a call and birthed by the Spirit. Both come from the same promise or call on God.

Flesh can never bring forth God’s promises. If it is birthed by the flesh, flesh will have to provide for it. This usually will create an environment of manipulation and control.

Conversely, that born of the Spirit will know it had no role in its formation, so it knows it cannot maintain or cause growth in its own ability. The pressure will be on God to provide for what He created or built.

When Isaac came fourth, Ishmael’s position was already well-established. Historically, Bevere has found that the opportunity for an Ishmael ministry will always present itself before the promised Isaac ministry is birthed. The temptation to bring forth yourself what God alone can provide must be resisted.”

 

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