Psalm 119:105 describes God’s word as a lamp to guide your steps. As you read your Bible this week, let God illuminate and direct your path.
In theatre, you may try out for the lead role & end up in the chorus. In your faith-walk, be willing to let God use you where he wants you.
I remember sitting in the rocking chair in my living room after bringing my firstborn home from the hospital. Family members were visiting from out of town, and a friend from work had stopped by to see the new arrival. At one point, though, I was in the room by myself with the baby, and I remember looking at him in my arms and thinking, “Now what?”
When you are preparing to have a baby, it can be information overload – childbirth classes, baby registries, pregnancy journals, and other women sharing their unsolicited labor horror stories. However, there’s not as much information about how to manage after the baby comes home and reality sets in.
Unfortunately, I think we often operate in that same mode when it comes to our faith journeys. This is the season when we focus on Jesus’ arrival, and people who haven’t attended church all year decide to show up out of the blue. We’ve put so much preparation into Christmas morning – decorating, gift buying, grocery shopping, travel arrangements, etc. Yet, what happens next week, or next month? What happens when family members leave to go back home, the decorations go back into boxes, and the New Year gets underway? In other words, “Now what?”
In Luke 2, we get a glimpse of the hustle & bustle surrounding Jesus’ arrival, and I’d like to point out one verse, in particular. It’s tucked in the middle of the shepherds’ story: “… Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often” (Luke 2:19, NLT).
We have a choice to make. We can box up the Christmas décor and tuck away the baby Jesus figurine with the nativity set to wait for next year, or we can treasure the living Christ year-round. I encourage you to find ways to get plugged into a faith support structure. Your “Now what?” plan could mean attending a Life group, Bible study, or weekly lunch to stay connected with other believers. Or, maybe you need to start a Bible reading plan (there are gobs available free online) or begin a daily conversation with the Lord in prayer. However it works best for you, keep the Christmas miracle in your heart and think about it often.
Compared to other relationships in your life, where does your relationship with Jesus stand? (Luke 14:26)
What did it take for you “to find God,” as my friend described in this week’s story? Spend time thanking God for his direction in your life.
For more insight on putting your faith into practice, try reading the book of James. Actions don’t save us, but they highlight our beliefs.
We often talk about our spiritual lives as a journey or a walk. It’s not a one-shot deal; it’s a process. Let God mold you as he sees fit.
Sometimes I feel like a broken record, except that my kids don’t really have a frame of reference for scratched vinyl albums, so the cliché is lost on them. The point, as many parents will agree, is that I feel like my words go in one ear and out the other. I don’t talk just to hear myself speak, for cryin’ out loud!
Sometimes I wonder if God feels the same way about us. He communicates with us through his word, the Bible. He also communicates through messengers, like the sermon on Sunday morning, a worship song on the radio, or a godly friend’s counsel. He communicates through prayer and the nudges of the Holy Spirit on our hearts. Case in point: Have you ever heard a particularly poignant sermon that echoed something that had been on your heart for a while, and then a song came on the radio that was spot-on about what you were dealing with? Lo and behold, you open your Bible later and seemingly coincidentally stumble upon a passage that reiterates everything God has been trying to tell you?
God is so patient with us; isn’t he? In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul explains that scripture comes from God’s inspiration, and it is not only useful to teach us, but also to redirect us, point out our mistakes, and build character. All of these things, in turn, work together to equip us to do the work that God calls us to do. Think back to when you started your current job: you might have attended an orientation, gone through training, perhaps even had a mentor. You probably weren’t an expert on Day One; it took time to learn the ropes.
Our spiritual journey is not much different. We have ample training opportunities through church and studying the Bible. You can build mentorship connections through Life groups. You can gain on-the-job training by serving in a ministry. Even people who have walked with the Lord for decades will admit that they have much to learn, but each day should find us growing closer and closer to the Lord. Check out Philippians 1:6 – God is in the business of finishing projects, and how wonderful for us that he never throws in the towel!
Isaiah 55:11 reminds us that God’s word will not return empty-handed; he speaks to be heard, and he communicates with us in order to bring us into a deeper relationship with himself. Are you listening?
Wherever? Are there places you frequent day-to-day where Jesus is not welcome to join you? What would change if he came along?
(I got a little bit behind, sorry!) 🙂
(Sunday) Wherever? Write down a list of places (local, abroad, etc.) where you would not be willing to go. Will you entrust that list to the Lord?
(Monday) Whenever? What loose ends do you feel like you need to wrap up before you can be serious about your faith-walk? What’s more important?