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Obedience Has No Age Limits

.          When God taps us on the shoulder and suggests that we get involved in kingdom work on a deeper level, we may be tempted to throw some excuses his way. A common excuse in biblical times that still shows up today is some version of, “I’m not up to the task.”

        Moses comes to mind as he stood, facing the bush that burned without being consumed, reminding God of all the reasons he couldn’t really be the one to lead his people out of Egypt. True, he had been raised in the courts of Pharaoh, but was now exiled, and had been herding sheep and goats for 40 years. What could he, an 80-year-old man, really be expected to do?

.          Gideon also comes to mind:

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6:14-15)
.          Timothy must have also had issues with this as his mentor, the apostle Paul, exhorts that he not let anyone think less of him because he is young, but instructs to instead be the example for those around him, “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

.          Obedience knows no age or ability restrictions. In fact, as you read about the people God chose throughout the centuries, you find that most of them had no reason to attempt what they set out to. God just told them “Go in the strength you have” and they responded, “Here am I, send me.”

.          God-sized things can only be accomplished by… well, God! But he will use us, if only we are willing to be used. Are you willing to wade out beyond your depth to get to where God is leading?

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Need Overload

In the wake of hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes worldwide, cries for help are before us every day. When faced with such tremendous needs, it is easy to get overwhelmed!

A hungry world calls to me
Its hands outstretched in misery
Eyes of pain pierce me through
But what can I do

The need’s so great but I’m so small
What I could give wouldn’t help at all
I’m so young, I can’t see
How God could use me.

What can we do? What should we do? What difference can we possibly make?

Despite our intent, these are the wrong questions. We should be asking “What is God asking us to do?”

It is NOT about how much we can or should give, monetarily or otherwise. It IS about obedience. We should be laying our resources before our Lord and asking, “What do you want me to do or give?” When he makes that clear, we should obediently respond… even if it is more than we think we can afford.

Consider Jesus in the temple, watching people give their offerings. He honored the widow who gave two pennies over those who were giving much more. She was giving everything she had.

 

What are the “two cents” God is asking of us right now?

This is a “no comparison” and “no judgement” kind of thing. We are responsible for what God is asking of us, and only us. He may ask for more, or less, from someone else; that is within his will. When the apostle Peter asked Jesus how his future compared to the apostle John’s, Jesus responded: “What is that to you? You follow me.”

As you consider the needs of the kingdom, or the needs of those impacted by catastrophes, get on your knees with us and ask God what we should do. He’s pretty good at multiplying our “five loaves and two fish!”

 

The Lord of the Harvest

.          The disciples approached Jesus as he said goodbye to a stranger, a middle-aged Samaritan woman. She ran off in a hurry toward Sychar, the local town from which she had come to draw water. It was in the heat of the day, and the disciples were loaded down with food for the midday meal. After drawing more water, they settled down under a grove of wild olive trees to share in food and conversation. Their main concern was what Jesus had been up to having a conversation with a woman…and a Samaritan one at that! But no one was brave enough to ask him directly about it.
.          Instead, the conversation momentarily revolved around food, but Jesus did not appear interested in that, either. His gaze remained on Sychar. “Please, master, have some food. You must be hungry.” “I have food to eat that you know nothing about” he responded, and murmurs arose. “What could he have had to eat?” “Did that woman give him something?”
.          Jesus then focused back on his followers. “Doing my Father’s will is my food. Though it may be said that there are still four months until the harvest, I say, ‘Look to the fields, for they are ripe and ready for harvesting right now.’” As he said these words, his eyes turned back toward Sychar and the growing dust cloud rising from the road. It seemed nearly the entire town was on their way to see this man that the woman had met. Jesus stood to meet them.
.          The disciples stood as well, backing away somewhat, the ingrained hatred of Samaritans playing in their minds. Jesus’ past words began to ring in their ears, “Pray to the Lord of the harvest asking that he send more workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2

Jesus’ request to pray for more harvesters still rings true today. The job is not done, the fields are still ripe. God is on the move. Workers are needed!

There are needs in every country and among every people group, some where the witness is already strong, and some where there is little or no witness at all. Please join us in praying every day at 10:02 AM (or PM if it’s better for you) for more harvesters. Our phone alarms go off at that time to remind us. Set yours right now.

Be Different

Sometimes, being a Christ-following kingdom worker seems to require some special ability, gifting or even superpower – and don’t get us wrong, having a superpower would come in handy sometimes – but honestly, making a difference for the kingdom boils down to just one, not-so-easy thing.

BE DIFFERENT.

Although the word “holy” in the Bible has come to mean “pure” or “perfect” for some, it can also mean to be set apart, or to be different. God is holy because he is unique, he is set apart from all else. There is no one and nothing like him. In Leviticus 11:44-45, he commanded Israel to be holy. They were to be different than all other peoples, and God gave them laws and instructions through Moses to explain how.

What should different look like today? If people are to know us and recognize us as different by our love, here are some suggestions to consider:

                In a world that wants everything now… be patient.

                In a world that is hateful… be kind.

                In a world that wants more… live with less.

                In a world that loves the strong… help the weak.

                In a world that glorifies self… champion someone else.

                In a world that judges… show acceptance.

                In a world that is selfish… be selfless.

                In a world that is bent on war… seek peace.

                In a world that wants revenge… forgive.

                In a world that deceives… love truth.

                In a world that is dangerous… protect.

                In a world that is doubtful… trust.

                In a world that is depressing… hope.

                In a world that is giving up… persevere.

Our world needs people who dare to be different, now more than ever. None of these things are easy, they all go against our sinful nature. Paul asks us to take off that nature, and put on love. Swimming against the current is difficult; but if we are to advance the kingdom, it must be done.

Be Different. Love God. Love others.

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Our Eyes Are on You

Jehoshaphat stood in shock, though he hid it as best he could, as the scout bowed before him. The news brought by this soldier was grave: several neighboring countries had joined forces and assembled their armies, resulting in hundreds of thousands marching against Jerusalem. He dismissed the scout with feigned confidence, then turned toward his throne, eyes downcast. What should he do?

Though the following night lacked sleep, King Jehoshaphat decided on a plan. Early that morning, he sent word out to all Jerusalem- men, women, and children -to assemble in the courtyard before the Lord’s temple. Together, they would come before the Lord and ask for his help and direction. Once all were assembled, the king prayed a prayer of praise and dependence. “We don’t know what to do,” he said, “but our eyes are on you.”

God’s answer? “The battle is not yours, but mine.”

The next day the army went out from Jerusalem and found that every single enemy soldier had died during the night. (2 Chronicles 20)

 

In our kingdom work, we often face overwhelming odds: financial needs, physical challenges, the need for more people… problems just like everyone else. We are not immune. We want to trust in God, but it is difficult because, on a day to day basis, our needs seem to remain the same.

For example: recently, one of our mission workers passed away from a disease that took a little more of her each day. But every day of that difficult journey she would proclaim, “Today I choose to trust you. Today I choose to praise you.” That is her legacy… a life of committed faith and praise. We are all honored to have known her and loved her.

No one knows why God does what he does, or allows what he allows. Sometimes he saves, as in the story above. Sometimes he chooses not to heal, as in the case of our dear departed sister. Rarely, if ever, does he answer the “why” question. We can not control what God does, but we can determine our committed, faithful response to him, and believe that somehow, he does have our good at heart, as he promises.

“We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you!”
Today we choose to trust you!
Today we choose to praise you!

Whatever you face in the kingdom today, “we are sure of this, he who began this good work in you is faithful, and he will complete it!” (Philippians 1:6)