Go And Glow

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There is a great hymn entitled, Go Where I Send Thee, and it articulates how God designs opportunities for each of us to engage. The question is are we willing to go? For where He is leading may not always appear to be our most appealing options:

Places: Sometimes the places God desires to send us can seem confusing at first, and we may initially want to resist it, but if we are seeking God in our life and heeding His call, we can’t ignore the conviction. Just like Abraham and Moses spent time in strange lands, God knew where and why He was leading them as He did. Their wisdom, like ours, rests in their faithful willingness to obey, regardless of sight (Hebrews 11:8-10).

People: God will also direct us to engage with various types of people. From strangers off the street, to family members across the table, there can be purposeful impact with every interaction (Matthew 25:35-40). Whether rich, or poor, enemy, or friend, how we choose to capitalize on these encounters is up to us. He designs the opportunities, and empowers our ability to engage effectively – but will we choose to surrender all restraint and allow ourselves to be used in such a way, even for those we find most difficult?

Positions: Joseph’s life provides a perfect picture to the various positions God may permit us to hold for His purposes. Going from an esteemed position in his home, to a slave in a foreign land and then to a falsely accused prisoner didn’t seem like a blessed path at the time. However, history confirms how God used it all for good as He prepared one of His own to assume a position of power in order to have His provisions flow to the benefit of others (Genesis 50:20). Consider – how might our current circumstances be God orchestrating similar opportunities for us? However, if all we seek is personal power and promotion, we will miss the hidden blessings waiting for us in the seemingly “lower” positions. Therefore, let us always trust God no matter the peaks and valleys He allows to come our way.

Application: “Servant To The Sovereign” – Isaiah 6:8
Do we faithfully serve God with our best only during the good times, or will we trust Him all the time and see every person, place and position as opportunities for growth and service to Him? After all, as His servants, surrendered to His calling, we go where He sends us, regardless to location, income and/or status. For we are to be the light that brightens the darkness and unless we are willing to go – who is left to be sent?

Problems, People and Purpose

imageAs we seek to share our testimonies and live out our faith, our interactions with various personalities will be deep and wide. Learning to properly manage these relations can prove challenging at times, especially when our desire is to promote the Kingdom and not pollute it. Thankfully, as with all things, God provides us with the guidance necessary to not only steward our interactions with others positively, but engage them purposefully as well:

Remain: As believers, we will face those who disagree with our faith. They may even actively seek to persecute and ridicule us publicly, which is obviously a challenging situation for anyone to endure. However, endure we must and remain steadfast in not comprising our beliefs, diluting our convictions and denying God’s truth in order to win worldly favor and grace (1 Peter 3:14). For the grace of God will sustain us and be our higher reward.

Rebuke: We will also face distortions of biblical truth that seek to distract and confuse what we know to be fact. This is when we must rebuke such lies and clarify them with God’s word and love. There’s no need to get in a shouting match, for the word of God is our weapon and will not return void of purpose (Isaiah 55:11).

Respond: There will also be those seeking relief from the emptiness and suffering in their lives. These are the ones perhaps enslaved and entangled by the lies and pursuits of this world. They are curious to learn more and present a tremendous opportunity for us to walk alongside, disciple and respond to their needs without any prejudice, or preference in regards to their condition (Proverbs 24:11). For often times, we the people can come messy.

Application: “Footsteps To Follow” – Matthew 4:19
Clearly, facing threats, lies and desperate conditions won’t be easy, but as we know, we can find encouragement from those great witnesses who have and are triumphing in similar opportunities. In addition, and most importantly, we have the One who goes with us and before us to ensure we possess all we’ll ever need to make these interactions purposeful and impactful to the Kingdom. So, let us not fear, or shrink back from our calling as representatives of Christ, knowing we may be sent out in this world of people like sheep among wolves, but not without the hope and reassurance that we never go alone.

Power of Provision

imageVarious scenarios in my life have helped me realize and understand that the source of all my provisions isn’t my job, my abilities, my paycheck, or who I know. Rather, it is God, and He alone is the One who sustains us through all circumstances, meets our needs and sharpens our faith. As a result, our trust in God grows and propels our reliance on Him alone for all things. These provisions can be summarized in three primary areas:

Salvation: What else, or who else other than Jesus Christ can save my soul (Acts 4:12)? The miracle of salvation and eternal life is simple enough for a child to receive and is made available to all – how marvelous is our God and what greater provision can there be!

Security: Fear, anxiety and doubts can plague our minds. We witness uncertainties all around us and wonder what security can there be, but through Christ, all things are possible – even peace (Jeremiah 32:27). A peace and joy that resides deep within, despite our surroundings and circumstances, because we know God secures what is His with purpose and we are never without hope. Are there any insecurities we’re currently allowing to overrule our hearts? May we quickly surrender them to Christ and reclaim the numerous promises revealed in His word.

Stability: Nothing on earth is stable. Everything changes. Sometimes for the good and sometimes seemingly for the bad, but through Christ, we don’t have to be tossed by the waves of these transitions. Instead, as believers, we can remain steadfast both in our hearts and in our minds knowing no matter what comes our way it has been sifted through our Father’s loving and purposeful hands (Ephesians 4:14). Where are we discontent and unstable? These may reveal the strongholds competing against our faith – and also the areas to be surrendered to Christ.

Application: “Overflow To Others” – Acts 26:18
Truly, as Christians we have been given much and are continuously entrusted with more through our faith in Jesus. In fact, our provisions overflow. The question is what do we do with such bounties? Do we try to hoard them, share them, or deny them? By sharing the gospel and Christ’s provisions through our testimonies and lifestyle, world captives can be set free and begin to receive the same profound blessings we enjoy – the eternal salvation, security and stability only He has the power to provide.

Life-Long Love Letters

imageOne of the things President Reagan was most renowned for was his great love affair with his wife, Nancy. A number of his letters to her have even been published in a book, but he is not the only one who has shared his heart in such a dramatic way. For the greatest collection of love letters can be found in Scripture, written by God to His beloved bride, the church.

After all, John 3:16 could very well be the most famous world-wide declaration of love ever given. But how do we respond to such sacrificial love, and what could we possibly give our almighty God in return? The answer is simple, yet not necessarily easy – for God has given us the freedom to choose our priorities and won’t force us to love Him. However, when we refuse to allow any of the following temptations to distract us from our devotion to Him, we, in a way, begin drafting through our actions, our own love letters to God :

Self: Our flesh craves gratification and it’s quite easy and natural to love ourselves first and foremost in this life. Yet these selfish tendencies can quickly distort our priorities to become about how we feel, what we want and how others esteem us. Yet, ironically, it’s when we die to self that we experience the true freedom, joy and peace we so deeply desire (Mark 8:35).

Stuff: We love our stuff – from what we drive, what we wear, what we have and where we live, our possessions and the desire for more can hold a tight grip on our motivations. After all, as the old adage goes, the one with the most toys wins. However, in reality, we are not designed to simply acquire things of this world, for a greater purpose and eternal life awaits us (Matthew 6:20). Therefore, may we never be so blinded by what we can see that we neglect the even greater treasures of Christ.

Success: We can theoretically check all the boxes this world has to offer by attending the best schools, holding the most prestigious positions and wielding the most power; but after we have reached such pinnacles of worldly success what good will it be if we enter eternity apart from God (Philippians 3:19)?

Application: “Choosing Christ” – Joshua 24:15
Clearly, God first chose us and from the first day of our creation, He has loved us. However, even though it may be simple for us to say, choosing to love Christ through our actions isn’t always the easiest thing for us to do on a consistent basis. For various distractions always come our way. Yet, God remains endlessly faithful in return and when Jesus becomes our whole hearted priority, we soon discover all the bright and shiny things of this world soon grow strangely dim.