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CALLED to Inspire: 52 Life-Changing Questions

CALLED to Inspire: 52 Life-Changing Questions

by Marsha DuCille

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Overview

Do you sense God prompting you to do something special with your life? Do you feel totally unprepared to answer his call?
Get ready for your heart to be emboldened and your faith strengthened! In CALLED to Inspire, Marsha DuCille, founder and publisher of CALLED magazine, leads you through a 52-question devotional experience to help you discover a rich, victorious life guided by God. With each weekly devotion, you’ll find compelling answers to life’s most significant questions. Each reading is accompanied by a powerful prayer, a meaningful verse to hide in your heart, a declaration to defend and fortify your faith, and journaling space to record your thoughts.

Let CALLED to Inspire encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and give you the strength and confidence to hear God’s calling in your life. Cling to this companion week after week—and dare to render your answer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496436009
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 10/08/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

What Does It Mean?

THE BIBLE IS FASCINATING FOR MANY REASONS, but the diversity of its characters makes it remarkable. Kings and queens, believers and doubters. Virgins and prostitutes, saints and liars. Through the Word of God, we come face-to-face with the triumphs of imperfect people who dared to answer their call.

Being "called" doesn't mean that we're perfect or even qualified. It simply means that God has a purpose for our lives. It also means that he has a plan for everything in our lives. It can be hard to fathom God's purpose for our hardships, but the Bible teaches that God always has a greater plan: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation" (Romans 5:3-4).

I marvel when I think of Harriet Tubman's calling. Born a slave, she escaped to freedom and became the most renowned "conductor" of the Underground Railroad. The appalling conditions of slavery offered only two reasonable options: freedom or death. After Harriet escaped, she returned to the South a myriad of times and escorted hundreds of slaves to freedom. Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called Harriet the "Moses" of her people.

Like Harriet Tubman, you are called to do something special for God, so dare to do it! It might be hard to imagine, but even your struggles are paving the way to your purpose. Therefore, don't be bound by your past or enchained by your limitations. Let the Lord set you free. For in due time, your freedom will free many others.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Set me free from everything that keeps me from fulfilling my purpose.

In Jesus' name, amen.

STRENGTH IN THE WORD

The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17

TODAY I DECLARE

God has a calling on my life, and I will answer it.

JOURNAL ENTRY

What do you sense God calling you to do? Write down your dreams and passions.

Journal away!

* KEEPSAKE

"Let the Lord set you free."

CHAPTER 2

Do You Accept the Definition?

IF I WERE TO ASK YOU TO LIST YOUR GIFTS, you would likely name attributes that someone brought to your attention. Maybe a teacher praised you for being a math whiz or a skilled writer. Perhaps a relative called you an excellent cook or a beautiful singer. The positive words spoken over our lives influence what we call ourselves. In fact, the opposite is also true. Some adults are still trapped by the characterizations that they were given as children. Even as grown-ups, the deprecating voice of a parent or teacher continues to hold them back.

In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, Jabez refused to accept his mother's negative definition of who he was. Because of her insufferable labor pains, she named him Jabez, meaning "He will cause pain." Jabez's name announced that he was a conveyer of grief, not a source of joy; he was an affliction, not a blessing. But Jabez prayed and asked God to redefine his name: "'Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!' And God granted him his request."

I don't know what you've been called in the past, but the only definition that matters is the one that God gives you — and the one that you give yourself. You have the power to define your name. If you've been called a failure, redefine yourself as a winner. If you've been called broke, redefine yourself as prosperous. If you've been called unloved, redefine yourself as treasured. Today, you can replace every negative definition.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Strip me of every negative definition that's been spoken over my life.

In Jesus' name, amen.

STRENGTH IN THE WORD

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous.

PSALM 139:14

TODAY I DECLARE

Other people won't define me.

JOURNAL ENTRY

How do you define yourself?

Journal away!

* KEEPSAKE

"You have the power to define Your name."

CHAPTER 3

Are You Bound?

AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER, we've all been pinned "between a rock and a hard place." Yet few of us would be willing to amputate an arm in order to be set free. But that's what Aron Ralston did — with a dull pocketknife. While he was climbing over heavy boulders in his hiking path, one of them rolled and trapped his right hand. Five days after unsuccessfully trying to free himself, Aron cut off his right forearm to save his life. It's a true story that's documented in his memoir, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and it's the subject of the Oscar-nominated film 127 Hours.

Aron Ralston had to choose between the arm that he wanted and the life that he needed. Our spiritual choices face a similar crossroad. There will be things that we want to keep (like relationships and habits), but God will ask us to let them go. The freeing decision will be a matter of spiritual life or death. In Matthew 5:30, Jesus instructs, "If your hand — even your stronger hand — causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."

When we're bound, we're unable to break free from the sin that holds us back. But Matthew 5:30 commands that we find a way to cut those things off and throw them away — removing the possibility of changing our minds and being bound again.

At times, you'll have to sever relationships that you want to keep and cut off habits that help you cope. But Aron Ralston cut off his arm to save his natural life, and you must cut off whatever is necessary to save your spiritual life.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Show me the parts of my life that must go.

In Jesus' name, amen.

STRENGTH IN THE WORD

I will walk in freedom.

PSALM 119:45

TODAY I DECLARE

No habit or relationship is worth my spiritual freedom.

JOURNAL ENTRY

How do you define spiritual freedom?

Journal away!

* KEEPSAKE

"Break free from the sin."

CHAPTER 4

How Many Regrets?

A SINGLE, MIDDLE-AGED PASTOR once told me that he fell in love with a woman during his twenties, but he didn't marry her. Although she brought him joy in a thrilling and unexpected way, he couldn't picture her as a pastor's wife.

She was rough around the edges; not exactly the Bible-teaching type. Moreover, he wondered, What would other ministers think? His wife would need to play a role, and she would be expected to look the part. Subsequently, the pastor's "true love" married someone else — and he regrets that misfortune every day of his life.

People pleasers have many regrets, because their lives aren't their own. Like parched wanderers in a desert, they roam in whatever direction satisfies their thirst. It can be a never-ending quest for approval. But those who drink the water that Jesus gives "will never be thirsty again" (John 4:14).

With the Lord's cup of affirmation, you can charge forward in any direction your destiny takes you. And you'll need it, because God has a track record for requesting unusual things. He instructed Hosea to marry a prostitute and told Noah to build a massive ark. "A flood?" people surely quipped — as Noah invested hefty resources into building a 450-foot boat over the course of decades. But "Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him" (Genesis 6:22).

The apostle Paul wrote, "I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God" (Galatians 1:10). Therefore, drink the cup of affirmation that Jesus gives, and charge forward with your destiny. You'll have far fewer regrets as a God pleaser.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Deliver me from the fear of what people think, say, and do.

In Jesus' name, amen.

STRENGTH IN THE WORD

Fearing people is a dangerous trap.

PROVERBS 29:25

TODAY I DECLARE

God's validation is more than enough.

JOURNAL ENTRY

If God asked you to build a massive ark in the middle of a desert, would you dare to do it?

Journal away!

* KEEPSAKE

"God has a track record for Requesting unusual things."

CHAPTER 5

Will You Listen?

THE BIBLICAL STORY OF BALAAM is fit for a Disney film. It has all the necessary characters: a talking donkey, a shady prophet, and an invisible angel. But between the kiddie enchantment and enthralling plot, there's something deeper.

Throughout the years, my most helpful customers have been the unpleasant ones. They never fail to point out what "sweeter" folks won't mention. Sure, their messages usually sting, but they also guide me in a better direction. In the Bible, God used a donkey to deliver a message to the prophet Balaam. And God will use anyone to deliver a message to you.

When Balaam was headed down a road (going somewhere that God didn't approve of ), his donkey stopped because an angel was blocking the way. Unable to see this, Balaam beat the animal three times. "Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak" — which certainly got Balaam's attention! Soon after, "the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway. ... 'Look,'" the angel said, "'I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you'" (Numbers 22:21-33).

In your animated film called Life, God will use a variety of characters to get your attention — like your critical mother or prying neighbor, because they have the guts to stop you in your tracks. So before you attack them, the way Balaam beat his donkey, ask the Lord to open your eyes. There's possibly something in the road that you can't see.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Use whomever you wish to get my attention.

In Jesus' name, amen.

STRENGTH IN THE WORD

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

PROVERBS 12:15

TODAY I DECLARE

I will be more receptive and less defensive.

JOURNAL ENTRY

How do you define "constructive" and "destructive" criticism?

Journal away!

* KEEPSAKE

"God will use anyone to Deliver a message."

CHAPTER 6

Is Lazarus Dead?

ONE OF CALLED MAGAZINE'S READERS ONCE WROTE, "My dream function has been broken." Age can make us feel this way. As the years progress, people tend to think that they've wasted too much time. But you're not too old, and it's not too late to accomplish your dream.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as "Grandma Moses," began her painting career in her mid-seventies. In her golden years, she painted thousands of creations — including twenty-five after the age of one hundred. Some of the finest museums in the world have displayed Grandma Moses' paintings, and various reproductions have been placed on china, fabrics, tiles, and greeting cards. In 1946, 16 million of her Christmas cards were sold, and one of her paintings was purchased for $1.2 million in 2006. Do you still think you're too old?

Through your faith, God can resurrect your dream, just as through the words of Jesus, God resurrected Lazarus: "When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days." However, Jesus said to Martha, "Your brother will rise again."

"Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible," Martha protested. But Jesus replied, "Didn't I tell you that you would see God's glory if you believe?" With great authority, Jesus then shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" And the dead man rose (John 11:17-44).

Your dream may have died years ago, but it can live again. So tell your Lazarus to rise! You're not too old, and it's not too late to fully live your life.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Resurrect the dormant passions of my heart.

In Jesus' name, amen.

STRENGTH IN THE WORD

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desires.

PSALM 37:4

TODAY I DECLARE

My dream will live again.

JOURNAL ENTRY

What is your dream?

Journal away!

* KEEPSAKE

"Tell your Lazarus to rise!"

CHAPTER 7

What Does God Think of Women?

MANY RELIGIOUS GROUPS HAVE LONG QUESTIONED the value of women. In the Middle East, where Jesus lived, Jewish rabbis began every synagogue meeting with this prayer of thanksgiving: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast not made me a woman." To this day, women are sometimes treated like second-class citizens at their places of worship. But God responded to the petition of Zelophehad's daughters and answered this question: Does he value women?

Zelophehad died during the forty years that the Israelites were wandering through the wilderness. With five daughters and no sons, his children couldn't inherit his land. The laws and customs of the time denied women inheritance rights. In fact, women themselves were considered to be property.

However, the five sisters — Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah — boldly "stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the tribal leaders, and the entire community," and they petitioned for their rights. "Why should the name of our father disappear from his clan just because he had no sons?" the sisters asked. "Give us property along with the rest of our relatives." So Moses took their case before God, and the Lord replied, "The claim of the daughters of Zelophehad is legitimate. You must give them a grant of land along with their father's relatives. Assign them the property that would have been given to their father" (Numbers 27:1-7). Hello, women's rights!

Unfairness of any kind can make the best of us feel inferior; but God values women. We can boldly go before the throne of God and collect our inheritance. "Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast made me a woman."

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Help me to see my value, no matter how I am treated.

In Jesus' name, amen.

STRENGTH IN THE WORD

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ.

GALATIANS 3:28

TODAY I DECLARE

I am an important and valued heir in God's Kingdom.

JOURNAL ENTRY

Read the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-30). What does it reveal about his perception of women?

Journal away!

* KEEPSAKE

"We can boldly collect Our inheritance."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "52 Life-Changing Questions Called to Inspire"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Marsha DuCille.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 1,
1. What Does It Mean?, 2,
2. Do You Accept the Definition?, 6,
3. Are You Bound?, 10,
4. How Many Regrets?, 14,
5. Will You Listen?, 18,
6. Is Lazarus Dead?, 22,
7. What Does God Think of Women?, 26,
8. Is He Too Busy?, 30,
9. Have You Made Rest a Priority?, 34,
10. Can God Invest in You?, 38,
11. What Do You Have?, 42,
12. Are You Skilled?, 46,
13. How Heavy Is the Load?, 50,
14. How Big Is Your Army?, 56,
15. Whose Armor Are You Wearing?, 60,
16. Is the Gate Guarded?, 64,
17. Is It a Bowl of Stew?, 68,
18. Have You Applied Discipline?, 72,
19. Is It a Distraction?, 76,
20. Do You Follow the Trend?, 80,
21. Who Has the Power?, 84,
22. Where Do You Go?, 88,
23. What Did You Say?, 92,
24. Is the Baby Protected?, 96,
25. What Has Passed Down?, 100,
26. What Do You Really Want?, 104,
27. Will You Seek Vengeance?, 110,
28. Does It Hurt?, 114,
29. Too Hard to Love?, 118,
30. Have You Asked?, 122,
31. Whose Voice Is That?, 126,
32. Did You Hear the Whisper?, 130,
33. How Do You Talk to Yourself?, 134,
34. Are You Martha?, 138,
35. Do You Give Honor?, 142,
36. Where Is the Compassion?, 146,
37. Are You Sincere?, 150,
38. Is Forgiveness Too Free?, 154,
39. Are Strings Attached?, 158,
40. Is It Your Business?, 164,
41. Why Compare?, 168,
42. What Is the Season?, 172,
43. Will You Take This Blessing?, 176,
44. Are You Intentionally Intimate?, 180,
45. Have You Embraced the Process?, 184,
46. Is He Absent?, 188,
47. Will You Pick Yourself Up?, 192,
48. Should You Try Another Way?, 196,
49. What Is Joy?, 200,
50. Have You Given Thanks?, 204,
51. Will You Win or Lose?, 208,
52. What Are You Waiting For?, 212,
Notes, 216,
About the Author, 218,