Monday, June 24, 2019

PAYING ATTENTION

“Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’”  (Exodus 3:3-4 NRSV)

[Pay] attention to the many ways in which God acts in our lives and in the world. God leaves metaphorical breadcrumbs that lead us along a path of God's choosing if we're paying attention. Learn to notice the gifts God gave you and watch the way your own life story is developing if you want to know more about God's will for you. God may not put a burning bush in your path, but there will be plenty of other clues about what God may want you to do or be.

-- Debra Farrington in "Alive Now" Magazine, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


#4618

Friday, June 21, 2019

DOING WHAT’S RIGHT

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  (Judges 21:25)

Many times over in the Book of Judges God has shown Israel how He sees things. He urges them to live according to His ways, to do what is right in God’s eyes. But continually they instead do what is right in their eyes, according to how they see things.

It was a hot summer afternoon on the Los Angeles freeway.  I was driving along, when suddenly, in the middle lane was a pickup truck, going about 50 mph, with a makeshift swimming pool in the bed of the truck.  Three children were having the time of their lives, yelling and splashing.

The next morning in the newspaper there was a photo of the truck, wet children, and an embarrassed driver being handed a traffic citation.  The driver was quoted as saying, "It was so hot and the kids were having so much fun, I just hated to stop them."

Everybody in that truck thought they were free to do whatever they wanted -- what was right in their eyes.  Well, I know this: Freedom is not doing what we please; it's pleasing God in what we do. It’s doing what is right in God’s eyes.

-- adapted from Luci Swindoll in “Extravagant Grace”


#4617

Thursday, June 20, 2019

GIVING GOD THE BROKEN PIECES

“But the Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

My prayer is, “God, take my broken pieces and remold them into what seems best to You.”

The question is whether or not we are willing to let the cracks show. For some of us, nothing could be more unthinkable. We want to airbrush any mistakes or flaws or scars.

But God looks at our brokenness much more like something called Kintsugi. This is a ceramic restoration process developed in Japan in the fifteen hundreds. Broken pieces are sealed together, but instead of hiding the cracks, the cracks are boldly highlighted and traced over with gold.

Normally anything broken that has been refurbished sells at a discount, but not Kintsugi pottery. Most often, the ceramic piece actually turns out to be more beautiful and more valuable than before it was broken. In fact, many collectors have been accused of deliberately breaking prized ceramics so they could be made whole with gold. That sounds a lot like the economy in the kingdom of heaven. The broken are the most valuable.

This is the redeeming power of God through Jesus Christ. When we finally come to the end of ourselves and give God the broken pieces, He can make us whole.

-- Kyle Idleman in “The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins”


#4616

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

PRAYER IS A RELATIONSHIP

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

Prayer is not a one-way conversation where you simply recite everything you want God to do for you. It is a two-way fellowship and communication. You speak to God, and He speaks to you. Prayer also includes listening. In fact, what God says to you in prayer is far more important than what you say to Him. After all, God already knows what you’re going to tell Him, but He has amazing things to reveal that you don’t know.

Prayer is a relationship, not a religious activity. Through prayer, you adjust to God; God doesn’t adjust to you. He wants you to pray, but He doesn’t need you to. You, however, need to pray because of what God wants to do in your life during your prayer time.

When the Holy Spirit reveals a truth to you in prayer, He is present and actively working in your life. This kind of prayer is a divine encounter.

-- Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby and Claude King in “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God”


#4615

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

THE CHURCH

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."  (Luke 19:10 NIV)

In God's benevolent economy, the church… provides a place of solace, a hotbed of godly values, a stage for spirited worship, an organism of relationships, and all the bountiful benefits Christians enjoy. But the church isn't the church so that we Christians can experience those perks. The church is the church so that other people can meet Jesus Christ and be captured by the Spirit and be incorporated into the Kingdom for eternity. A church exists, like Jesus, "to seek and to save the lost." The church is not in the business of coddling the cozy but rather of finding the fallen, and will inconvenience itself in order to reach out. The church exists to do what Jesus valued -- and did, Himself.

-- James D. Berkley in a sermon at First Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, Washington


#4614