Sometimes it is hard to know when you have done enough….
The Christmas lights outside had already come on. Dusk had tripped the timer to turn on. There was a knock on the front door. No one uses the front door at our house – unless they are strangers. I walked to the back door and walked around the porch to meet a man in his 20’s asking if I had jumper cables.
A tow truck sat in the parking lot at the church with a car in tow. As I headed out to hopefully find the cables I discovered the cables were not for the tow truck but a motorcycle. It was 37 degrees and raining in South Carolina last night. Who in their right mind is riding a motorcycle in these temperatures after dark?! As we were walking back to the bike and tow truck he pieced the story together. He and his partner repossessed cars. They had picked up a car and was asked to get another vehicle, not knowing it was a motorcycle. There was no room on the tow truck so one of them had to drive it. The owner had stopped making payments on the bike and just waited for them to pick it up. (I don’t get that but let’s move on!)
I also discovered the man riding the bike had never rode a motorcycle; never even been on one! With my years of riding I was thinking he had no business to be riding this bike in these conditions especially. Even someone with experience would need to be careful! We jumped the bike and it fired right up. As I talked with them some more I realize he has no helmet, not even a stocking cap, or gloves! This just kept getting worse!
I started to walk away, and then there was this nudge, a thought if you will. I turned around and went back. I still had my helmet. I couldn’t quite part with it when I sold my last bike – just in case… I offered him my helmet which he gladly took. As I walked away I was thankful to have been of help. However, I was also bothered – He had no experience doing what he was doing. I could have offered to do it for him. I had the rest of the clothing for such a ride. But I didn’t. It wasn’t my responsibility.
I sometimes wish the leading of God was always crystal clear all the time. But it is not. As the Apostle Paul says “we see through a glass darkly” in this life. So, sometimes things are clear, sometimes they are just shadows. I did the right thing offering my helmet, even if it was to a complete stranger. The rest isn’t so clear.
As you go through the holidays take time to pay attention to the nudge of the Lord, that seemingly random thought might not be as random or crazy as you think. God might have a plan. Do what He prods you to do for others knowing some of it will be clear, some not so much. Just go be a blessing to someone – including the stranger who comes your way. It just may be a Divine appointment.
“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” -Isaiah 11:2
The above words are spoken about Jesus. Jesus, in possessing the Spirit possessed wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and reverence for the Lord. In coming to Christ as Savior, I too have been given the Spirit. While I can not experience these same qualities perfectly, as Jesus did, I have been given these things as well. I usually don’t see myself this way. But the reminder is important. The Holy Spirit in the believer brings with him – wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord. Since I am not fully like Jesus (yet), I can invest in ways to build these qualities. I can follow the Spirit leading me. I can study the Bible and apply it to life. I can participate in studies with others, learning from the Spirit what others have learned. I can pray and seek these qualities from the Lord. The more I invest the greater these qualities will be in my life. I need wisdom and understanding. I need counsel, both the receiving of good counsel (and the ability to recognize it), and the ability to provide good counsel to others. I need might, spiritual power so that what is done or said through me is clearly from God not me. I need knowledge. And, yes, I need the fear of the Lord. I need to keep him first.
Father, help me to invest in the Spirit this day
Readings: Isaiah 2, Isaiah 11, 1 Corinthians 6, Revelation 20
“Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy… Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.” – Isaiah 35: 2a, 10
Singing, joy, and gladness will one day be mine in abundance. Joy will be even more than abundant. It will be everlasting. While I can surround myself with music now, abundant singing from a joyful heart that never dissipates is a whole other level of singing. Joy that lasts forever will be a new experience. Joy is temporary now. It can change in a flash due to circumstances. But when Jesus comes, sorrow and mourning will disappear. Sorrow, mourning, sadness are unwanted regular companions that come and go at will in my life now. Some events leave a sadness that never quite goes away. But a day is coming when it will be gone forever. The presence of God, his glory, singing and joy will be so overwhelming I will one day forget what sorrow and mourning are like! Bring it.
Father, I look forward to Jesus coming again and filling my life with singing and joy on a whole new level. In the mean time, guide me to sing and rejoice now, in spite of my situation, as part of the preparation for what I will enjoy for eternity.
Readings: Isaiah 4, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 65, Zechariah 9
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day… So we don’t look at the troubles we see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” -2 Corinthians 4:16, 18
We can fool ourselves. A person can give up and yet still keep going. You do what has to be done. People see you and see nothing different. But inside… inside you have given up, become discouraged, leaking hope… So, how do I move from giving up to never give up? I am promised that The Spirit renews my spirit every day. To not give up I must pay attention to what God is always doing for me, for us – renewing me… daily. How do I do that? How do I see what God is doing in and around me when circumstances look and smell like the bottom of a trash can that has held trash for too long? I am to fix my gaze on to the eternal, rather than the moment, the temporary. Anything I see in my circumstances is temporary; temporary because God will change them, and temporary because of the eternal life I will experience when Jesus comes again. It all comes down to where I fix my gaze. If I fix my gaze on circumstances, then I have focused on my inability to “fix” it. When I fix my gaze on the unseen, I focus on Jesus, His promises, the presently unseen things He is doing. And, ultimately, my gaze is on the eternal.
Father, turn my gaze in the right direction, and give me eyes to catch glimpse of what you are doing in and around me.
Readings: Luke 20, 2 Corinthians 4, 1 John 3, Romans 8
Day 85 – Luke 20, 2 Corinthians 4, 1 John 3, Romans 8
Day 86 – Hebrews 12, 1 Corinthians 3, Psalm 58, 1 Peter 5
Day 87 – 1 Corinthians 9, 1 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 19, 2 Thessalonians 1
Day 88 – Isaiah 4, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 65, Zechariah 9
Day 89 – Isaiah 2, Isaiah 11, 1 Corinthians 6, Revelation 20
Promises About Marriage
Day 90 – 1 Timothy 5, 1 Peter 3, Genesis 1, Ecclesiastes 4
“May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.” -2 Timothy 1:16-17
While I would never want to name a kid after this guy, I certainly would want kids to be like him – adults for that matter too! He is an encourager, and being an encourager requires something very specific. An encourager must be willing to go out of their way again and again. Paul was in prison, and this man visits again and again. Traveling to Rome, finding a place to stay, and making time for repeated prison visits is no small sacrifice. On top of all this Paul adds that he searched for Paul until he found him.
God’s call for me/we to be encouragers means a readiness to go out of my way; to make sacrifices repeatedly; to persist until found. We tend to hate the slightest inconvenience. This has to be shed to encourage. While many people we may minister to may not literally be in prison, they can be in prisons of their own struggle. They, too, must be found. They will require persistence because they may at first push us away. But the encourager presses on and in.
Father, make me a better encourager…
Readings: Ezekiel 37, 2 Timothy 1, Psalm 17
“And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved…” – 2 Peter 3:15
Jesus came to this earth with a mission – for people to believe in Him and so be saved. Jesus gave the disciples and us a mission – to “go and make disciples of all nations”, in other words share the message of life only in Jesus. Amazingly, even the second coming of Christ is focused on redemption. So often we/I think of the second coming and associate it with judgment. But this verse tells us the return of Christ is arranged so people will be saved. Now obviously, not all will be saved because not all will believe. However, the Lord delays the return of Christ for more people to be saved. Maybe it is time to associate the second coming of Christ more with his mission than judgment. Certainly judgment will come on that day, but it will be a consequence of those who refuse to believe. In the end, the return of Christ is more about salvation. This hope coupled with the reality of judgment for all who do not receive Jesus as God’s remedy for our sin, should stir a fresh passion to share Christ with others. It should also cause us to plead with God to fulfill His promise through us to “make us fishers of men.”
Jesus, my wonderful savior, keep my focus and passion on sharing you with others in a way Your Spirit will use to lead others to receive and believe in you!
Readings: Isaiah 21, 1 Thessalonians 5, 2 Peter 3, Hosea 13