Thursday, July 31, 2014

In All Things...

Think about the Lord, and our relationship with him.

His promises.
His power.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

THINK

CHALLENGE
How do we listen for God’s direction while pressing on in his work? Life is all about balance—we have to be open and attentive to God while also owning his work in and around us. If we truly believe nothing can separate us from his love, we are obligated to pass that message on to those we share life with. If we soak up everything God is and does, but don’t share that through our conversations and actions and meetings, we’ve missed the point entirely.

This Jesus-life isn’t about just sitting around on Sunday mornings. It’s about taking what we learn together—on Sunday mornings too—and sharing that with our community on Monday. It’s important that we come together, as there is strength in community. We chase after God with all of our heart and soul and mind, but then we share his love with our neighbors. Our relationship with Jesus is about so much more than us and him, it’s about doing what he did. Living how he lived. Loving how he loved. Jesus did not come to sit around and wait—he came to love and serve.

QUESTIONS
Is there anything that could separate you from the love of Christ?

Stop and think about what Jesus did for us—what does that mean for our lives? How do we live that out?

Are we sharing the love of Christ, whether in words or actions, with everyone we meet?

Why are we here? Why do we go through the motions of church and drag ourselves out of bed on Sundays…what are we doing?

Nothing can drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love! How do share that?

If this Jesus-following isn’t just about Sunday morning, how can we better take what Christ is teaching us and use it to bring his Kingdom to our community? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

THOUGHTS

Do we ever sit around, waiting to see what God will do? It seems there is a complex balance between waiting on the Lord and getting out to do his work. We cannot negate the importance of rest, nor can we forget our works do not determine God’s love for us. That said, we must also be ready and willing to hit the ground running, carrying the message of Jesus and bringing his Kingdom to our community. This Jesus-life is not a spectator sport—if we truly believe what Jesus says and does, we can’t help but jump in feet first. So often, though, we get stagnant and comfortable. Or we hide behind the notion, “we’re waiting on the Lord.” Great—let’s wait on the Lord, but let’s work in the meantime!

There is such brokenness and need in the communities around us, there is no place to let our hands be idle (Ecclesiastes 11:6). We can wait patiently for God’s direction while pressing forward with what he has already said. Joshua had to address this very thing with Israel. After so many years—decades, even—Israel had control of the land. But the task was not complete. In fact, it was far from complete.

There was much work to be done so that all of the tribes of Israel could have their share of the inheritance God had given them. It was theirs—but they had to work for it. We don’t work for God’s love, we work to bring his Kingdom to our world. We work to share his love. It is that Kingdom that can change things around, that makes the last first and causes the poor to inherit the earth. It is that upside-down, inside-out, let’s-be-real Kingdom that we get to be a part of it. But it isn’t enough that we’re part of it—God wants everyone to be part of it. And that is our task—to stop sitting around “waiting on the Lord,” and listen for his still small voice while we show the world that nothing can get in the way of his love.

READ

Joshua 18-19 [18:1-6]
Then the entire congregation of the People of Israel got together at Shiloh. They put up the Tent of Meeting. The land was under their control but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had yet to receive their inheritance. Joshua addressed the People of Israel: “How long are you going to sit around on your hands, putting off taking possession of the land that God, the God of your ancestors, has given you? Pick three men from each tribe so I can commission them. They will survey and map the land, showing the inheritance due each tribe, and report back to me. They will divide it into seven parts. Judah will stay in its territory in the south and the people of Joseph will keep to their place in the north. “You are responsible for preparing a survey map showing seven portions. Then bring it to me so that I can cast lots for you here in the presence of our God.

Romans 8:26-39 [31-39]
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Think & Pray

THINK
Having the reality of God’s presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence. The experience the psalmist speaks of— “We will not fear, even though . . .” (Psalm 46:2)— will be ours once we are grounded on the truth of the reality of God’s presence, not just a simple awareness of it, but an understanding of the reality of it. Then we will exclaim, “He has been here all the time!” At critical moments in our lives it is necessary to ask God for guidance, but it should be unnecessary to be constantly saying, “Oh, Lord, direct me in this, and in that.” Of course He will, and in fact, He is doing it already! If our everyday decisions are not according to His will, He will press through them, bringing restraint to our spirit. Then we must be quiet and wait for the direction of His presence.
Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest
July 20th

PRAY
Jesus, you said that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The full. Fullness in you, despite circumstances. Fullness, within chaos or comfort. Fullness—allowing grace to come in; allowing joy; allowing deep exhales of peace. You said “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Let not. God, it seems that, within every single moment, there is an opportunity, a choice. Please, God, let ours be fullness. Let ours be expectancy. Let ours be trust.
amen.