Daily Archives: August 16, 2016

Micah 1-4; Psalm 10; Matthew 24

45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.” (NLT)

This past summer has been interesting to say the least. I feel like I am coming out of a season of loss.  In the past three years I have lost a job I had for 23 years, my mother, an aunt, and my best friend.  Then I felt God ask me to give up the ministry I had poured my heart into for six years.  I couldn’t understand why at first, but I believe I do now.  I believe He has been preparing me although not in a way I would have chosen.  I have had to realize that my life is not about me but about Him.  I say I surrender my life to Him, but I really want to hold tightly to the things of this world.  He can’t use me when I do that because I am not free to go the direction He wants me to go.  As He has taken some things away, I find He has placed more of Himself in their place.  The choice is up to me—do I want to wallow in loss or join Him in the new thing He has for me?  I choose to join Him!

With these losses came a supreme loss of purpose for my life. I found myself isolating and withdrawing; I did not know what I was supposed to do. I prayed and prayed but heard only silence.  I realized I was building walls around my heart and prayed against them; I did not want a hardened heart.  I continued to get up every day and go through the motions of living.  In the mornings I would cry out to Him in my car as I drove to work.  But God has His own timing and I had to wait.  I just wasn’t sure what I was waiting for!

In the quiet times of meditation, I came to realize He was waiting for me to come to a place of contentment with my life, and my own self, just as it is—to that place where He is enough. It is what He requires of us.

I have been in a leadership role for many years. That in itself is His doing.  I have never quite gotten over that because it is a most humbling place in my opinion.  He has “given me the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them.”  When I read those verses in Matthew, they jumped off the page to me of purpose for my life.  He spoke to me recently through my “Jesus Calling” devotional as well.  To paraphrase, it said:  I want you to teach others what I have been teaching you!

God has taught me so much since I took that step to believe. I really was a broken vessel.  Before I accepted Jesus, I likened myself to a tree with its roots wrapped in burlap.  I moved from place to place but never set any roots, nor did I grow.  Then I decided it was time to plant myself in Him.  This person has flourished since then—oh to the rest of the world they might not see it that way.  And to be honest, I’m not sure I did either until I reached that place of contentment.  God has grown me, watered me with living water, fertilized me with his truth, and pruned me when I had unproductive branches.  Because of His great love, I want to tell others what He has done.

I think I must have learned what He wanted to teach me because He has entrusted me to “manage his other household servants and feed them” once again and is giving me that opportunity to feed His servants. I am excited and filled with joy to be able to serve Him in this way.  As to the reward, He is our reward!

Heavenly Father, your patience brings me to my knees with gratitude. You love us more than we deserve.  You lift our heads to look into Your beautiful face and look upon us with adoring eyes.  Where else can we go for everything we need but to You.  You are always there for us.  You hold us when we cry, and cheer for us when we succeed.  If we ask, you will teach us to live a better life.  When we fall, you give us another day to try.  Thank you.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)  

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Isaiah 4-6, Matthew 23

“Here I am… Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

Recently, I’ve been in a season where I’m sensitive to what I refer to as ‘extreme language’… you know what I’m speaking about… those phrases people use to make their point, and then some. The literary equivalent of using a mallet to kill a mosquito! Examples of extreme language include phrases like “You always do that…” or “You never do that…” This issue is more pervasive than you think… listen carefully next time, particularly when two or more people are having a disagreement.

Along the same lines, I’ve noticed phrases like “I know exactly how you feel” or “Everything is going to be okay…”, the common go-to language when attempting to comfort someone going through a difficult time. While I understand the intent to comfort, the reality is no two people have the same experience when dealing with a difficult situation. In my opinion, it would be more compassionate to offer “I can only imagine how this difficulty is making you feel.” Being careful what we offer to others is the impetus to this reflection on Isaiah 6… wisdom has us carefully responding to others so we speak what we mean and not just to speak.

To understand the significance of using the right words at the right time, it would be beneficial to see that it wasn’t only Isaiah’s response, “Here I am”, that is noteworthy in terms of speaking what is meant. The Old Testament has numerous examples of those addressed by God, from Abraham in Genesis 22:1 to Jacob in Genesis 31:11 to Moses in Exodus 3:4 to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:4. The phraseology “Here I am” is a one of obedience to anyone who calls, when the one called is ready and willing to be of service, as in Genesis 22:7. In contemporary language, these three words can be interpreted as “Yes… I am at your disposal”. We hear this very strongly when Mary repeats it in her response to the angel Gabrielle’s announcement foretelling the birth of Jesus… “Here I am, the servant of the Lord… let it be with me according to your word” in Luke 1:38.

Applying this principle of ‘meaning what we say’ to our own spiritual growth, we need to be careful what we speak to God during our time with Him. I believe that if God were to make a list of phrases we casually offer to Him, the one phrase that would likely be at the top of the list would be various forms of “Here I am… Send me!” I say this respectfully, but if we are true to ourselves, it appears that after we’ve come to know God for any length of time, it is likely that we’ve felt pressured (by others or an inner need to feel like a better Christian) to say such words to God while secretly hoping that He won’t send us outside our comfort zone. So, ‘Here I am’ really means “Here I am… but only if…”, a conditional ‘Here I am’…

God asked the prophet Isaiah to take his messages to the Israelite people. Any study of the prophets reveals that their jobs were never easy. In fact, no one is his or her right mind would likely accept the challenges without truly knowing that path was God’s choice. Even then, we’d likely hesitate for fear of the unknown as part of the human experience.

It appears that humans haven’t changed much over the millennia in terms of not really meaning what they say. However, Isaiah’s declaration “Here I am” was indeed that… an unequivocal Yes! He showed that his words held integrity and a commitment to God on a much deeper level than mere lip service to appease others or for recognition. We would do well to study Isaiah’s approach, and those mentioned in the Old Testament, who understood the power behind heartfelt and faith-based words that are spoken and the consequences, good and bad, that will result.

Lord, I want my words to matter… really matter to You… I want my words to speak of the true intent of my heart. Father, I pray for less peripheral and more focus vision on You when it comes to my words of intention in the midst of the negativity that surrounds me that continuously tries to tear me down. Please slow the connection between my mind and my mouth so that the words that You hear glorify You with their trustworthiness and enrich the lives of others with their dedication to Your truth! Amen…

Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized