Tuesday, January 5, 2021 | 8:30 AM
This morning God whispered to me in the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV):
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
He didn’t shout, He whispered. Would I have heard what He had to say if I had not come willingly in silence, waiting on the moving of His Spirit? We know He is God and won’t be bullied into miracles or loud speaking. And so we should know that to begin to hear Him we must first recognize He doesn’t have to bother to speak at all, but then, come to rest in His delight to move into the surrendered heart in quietness and peace what is on His own good and holy heart for today.
What strikes me about this is how “normal” this is for me after living seven decades with Him. I am finding normal in quietness and trust, on waiting upon Him. He won’t be bullied by my anxious imaginings, angry resentments, or self-interested calculations.
And so the Apostle says, “Pray without ceasing.” Don’t stop quieting your heart before His majesty and listening for the moving of His Spirit, but rather, look up and receive the good word the Father has for you today.
“There are those who claim it’s impossible to learn what we’re meant to do or meant to be. The folks who say that tend to be living for a God who shouts, and completely miss the one who whispers. But I side with Paul who wrote ‘We see only a dim reflection as though through a glass darkly but one day we shall see face to face and what we now know in part one day we shall know fully. But in the meantime, these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.”
Mysteries contain light…
Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church”:
“However we splice it, the Christian life involves living with mystery. Many times the will of God is utterly incomprehensible to us. This is as it should be, since God’s ways are so much higher than ours, but it doesn’t make it any easier to live with. Living with mystery is hard. Mystery should make us silent, humble, careful. We should not rush to explain what cannot be explained… Mysteries also should make us honest. We have to admit “we don’t know” to God. But all too often we beg for answers we simply could not handle. But if I look at the experiences rather than the explanations of the persecuted, I see that at the heart of mystery is not frustration, but joy and grace… Mysteries appear dark, like black holes on the outside, but as we enter them, we are in for a wonderful discovery. At their center is not darkness, but light. This light is the light of Christ. Don’t be afraid of a mystery. It is dark on the outside, but full of light on the inside.”
Did the Lord nudge your heart during this last Sunday’s service?
As I prayed along with Pastor Dirk, I could hear the truth of the Scriptures ringing in his words, I could sense the love of God’s heart calling me to trust. How about you?
Why not go back and listen again? The beauty of our current situation is that we can listen again and again for what God is saying…
Pastor Dirk’s prayers:
Dear Lord, we thank you that we can start this year off looking back, looking and taking stock now of what we have. It may not be what we expected, but it is enough. Lord, help us to be thankful, help us to be satisfied, help us to realize that nothing we accumulate in this world – in this life – we can take with us. It’s material. But everything material we have is a gift from you that we can use for your purposes, your glory – to maintain, to care for and to multiply – that the good news of Jesus Christ may live in us and bless those around us…
Dear Lord, we thank you so much that you are enough, that you satisfy every need -that no amount of money, no relationship beyond you, no achievements, success, fame, or notoriety can satisfy that hole in our hearts. No drugs, no substance, no recreation can fill that hole in our hearts. Only you Lord.
Lord, we thank you for coming as Jesus Christ, the one who is worthy of our adoration. [We are coming] like the Wisemen came, seeking out and kneeling down before you, humbling themselves. Lord, we humble ourselves before you asking that we may find your peace and your way, asking that those we know and love who are battling illness, waiting for test results, recovering from surgery, or making plans for treatment – Lord, we pray that they have the grace, the strength, and the healing that comes through you. We pray for our world. There is so much that’s not right. We pray that it might be a time when people draw close to you, seek your ways and your wisdom – and to walk in the ancient paths. We thank you that we are not alone, but that Christ is with us. We pray now as he taught us to pray…”
Questions to ponder
- What were the main points? What stood out to you?
- There is tension in this topic. Talk about some that you see and feel. Is it actually enough to have only food and clothing?
- Read through Matthew 6:25-34 – What do you need to hear from Jesus as we start a new year?
- How do you make decisions beyond basic survival needs? When is enough plenty? Are luxuries okay?
- What are effective ways to multiply what God gives you?
- Going Deeper: Gratitude increases satisfaction – what are you grateful for from 2020?