Tag Archives: Matthew 28:20

Always

25 Jan

note photoBefore cell phones, when one of us was going to be gone for a couple of days, we left little notes around the house to let the other person know we were thinking of him/her. And even though we can text now, we still scatter post-its in places we know the other will find them – in the dog food bin, under the milk in the fridge, on the laptop base. It’s fun to leave them and wonderful to find them – knowing that we are being thought of even though we are apart.

I’ve been sick for about 36 hours courtesy of a tiny virus. Most of that time I was sleeping. But when I’d wake (usually from a coughing fit) I was glad to know that God was with me. Not because I felt like I was going to cash in my chips, but just that He is here with me. That even at 2:38am when everyone else was asleep, I wasn’t alone.

I’m getting better at the “always” portions of Scripture, and what I’m finding is comfort and peace and hope. A casual reading of the verses I’m talking about might make one think they are from a harsh task-master God stuck on himself. In reality these are promises, meant to remind us that even when we aren’t aware God is with us, he is.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5

And he doesn’t ask us to do anything that he hasn’t already done.

Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

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READY FOR SUNDAY

When I’m worshiping God all week, Sunday worship flows easily.

Replacing the natural with the supernatural. This is where I choose to live.

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Reality Check

28 Jan

We prayed for one of our own.  For anointing, power, and fortitude.  Because he was ordained a few days before.

My call to ministry came with an onslaught of emotion – “Really?  God you want me?”  “There is NO way I can do this!”  “I know you are with me – You and me… we’re gonna change the world!”  “How can this be????”

From excitement to sheer terror in tenths of a second!  But gradually, an under-current of adventure and a thrill of rising to the challenge took over, and I was off.  Off to take on this thing called Ministry, called and empowered by the Ruler of the Universe.

Days later, Reality grabbed my feet and pulled me back to earth with arms clothed in petty misunderstanding.  And it wasn’t long before character assassination and my own sin tripped me up and threw me down the stairs into discouragement and frustration.

This week, as we prayed for our friend, my mind ping-ponged between my call to those of Mary and Paul (Saul).  Before Reality had a chance to strike at them, God called him out.

An angel told Mary that she would be the mother of Messiah.  She was afraid (Luke 1:29-30), confused (v34), willing (v38), excited (v39), humbled, enraptured with her God (vs46-56), introspective (Lk 2:19), and filled with wonder (v33).   As she and Joseph dedicated their firstborn son at the temple in Jerusalem, God added Simeon’s prophecy to all that was in her heart: “This Child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” (vs34-35)  Up front Mary knows this call she has received is both glorious and grim.

Paul, too, looked into his future and quickly saw the dual aspect of God’s call (Acts 9:1-19).  Struck blind and led to the home of the disciple Ananias, to whom God had spoken and arranged to restore his sight, Paul knew right away he would have the privilege of being used mightily by God and of suffering for Jesus’ name (v16).  In fact, his preaching, just days after God called him, at the same time astonished the Christians and caused the Jews to conspire to kill him (vs20-23).

Then my imagination pictured Jesus– the ultimate example.  The most important and history-changing Call in the universe could not be fulfilled without the most horrific Suffering of all time.

And so we prayed for our compatriot, knowing that God will never leave him (or us) (Mt 28:20; Heb 13:5); that his and our adversity proves we are co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17); and that, although we will have trouble, Jesus has overcome the world and all its sufferings (Jn 16:33).

God does not call us for warm fuzzy feelings of significance; the more intense the call, the more intense the hardship and suffering.  So why run into it?  Why push into hurt, abuse, slander, back-stabbing, threats, and even the possibility of physical violence?  Why trade away a life focused on my comfort and 40-hour work weeks?

Simply, to hear two words: “Well done.”

Tomorrow is Sunday (again).  We may walk into a glorious day full of praise for God and what He is doing among the people we serve.  There may be hurt and pain in every conversation and around every turn in the halls.  Or a confusing combination of the two.  Neither changes God’s call.

God, help me to serve, sure of your call and in the power of Your Spirit.  And please use me to inspire those I lead to do the same.  For Your glory.

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