Recently I was reading Jeremiah 29, which contains some verses familiar to many of us. Normally my attention is drawn to verse 11, which is the life verse God gave my middle daughter: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We like to read that verse. But as I reflected, it struck me that this promise comes with conditions (or at least a roadmap). The words that immediately follow it, verses 12 & 13, explain: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” For at least a week now, I keep thinking about verse 13 … when you seek me with all your heart. Sounds like the picture of someone who is “all in”, fully committed. What a challenge this can be, but what a glorious outcome. When I get down about the state of God’s People today, or with my own walk for that matter, I am reminded of the solution laid out in these verses. We must call on Him, come to Him, pray to Him, and seek Him with all our heart. The question is, am I “all in”? Are you?
At a recent conference for medial workers, I had the opportunity to chat with some of the folks from Crossworld, a mission agency focused on disciple-makers from all professions bringing God’s love to life in the world’s least-reached marketplaces. They shared with me a resource called “A Better Way”, which is available as a 160pg soft cover book or a free 24 page booklet. One of the concepts I really liked in it was the 925 Window. Not sure what that is? Read the book to find out. Here’s a hint … working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living.
Have you ever wanted to be more effective at living intentionally for the Gospel as you enter a new culture? Ever felt overwhelmed in the process, or at the prospect of doing so? Then, perhaps there’s a book for you. Larry & Susan McCrary from the Upstream Collective have written a book called “First 30 Daze”. This resource contains thirty topics that blend scripture verses, stories and practical ways to tackle the issues most folks face when first entering a new culture. Check it out. You might find it quite useful for where you are, or where God is taking you.
The other day I came across this devotional from Os Hillman in his Today God Is First series. It was a challenge I faced years ago, but one I still revisit from time to time. How about you?
“All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied” (Eccl. 6:7 NKJV).
How would you feel about yourself if your job was removed from you tomorrow? Let’s imagine that your income wouldn’t change, just what you did everyday.
One of the schemes that Satan uses in the life of the Christian worker is to get him/her to view their value solely based on the type of work they do and how well they do it. We call this performance-based acceptance. It says “As long as I have a good job and I do it well, I have self-esteem.”
This is a “slippery slope” and can be used by Satan to keep our focus on our performance versus Christ. We are never to find our value in what we do. Instead, our value is solely based on who we are in Christ. The apostle Paul wrestled with this after he came to faith in Christ. He had grown to the top of his field as a Jewish leader.
“If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Phil 3:4-9).
You’ll never really know to the degree that your self-esteem is rooted in your work until your work is removed. Unemployment, illness, or a financial crisis can lead to job loss.
Why not evaluate where you are in this area of your life. Affirm with God your desire to be known by Who you know versus what you do.
As we start a new year, I thought we’d kick it off by sharing with you a simple tool to help you grow as a disciple and a disciple maker. I’m borrowing this from our friends at www.moredisciples.com, who borrowed it from someone else, and it goes by the acronym “SOAPs.”
- S – Scripture: Choose 1 to 4 focus verses and write them out word for word.
- O – Own: Now paraphrase the focus verses in your own words.
- A – Apply: Ask God how He wants you to apply any truths in the focus verses in your life today
- P – Pray: Pray that the Lord will give you strength, courage and boldness to put these truths into practice today.
- s – Share: Share these focus verses and the lessons you’ve drawn from them with someone you meet today.
It’s easy and practical, but also deepens your time in Scripture in a great way. Why not commit to doing your SOAPs for the next 14 days, and see what God does?