Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Commission’

Presence

And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

~~ Genesis 9:9 (KJV)

Beginning in Genesis, we see God deigning to communicate with man, making promises to man. The passage above is quoted from right after the flood when God promises never to flood the earth again.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~~ Matthew 28:20 (KJV)

And the promise is found again in Jesus’ words to the disciples. He gives them the great commission and then a promise “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

This is not a new concept.

That we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD’s Presence, by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation, to think of trifles and fooleries.  —  Brother Lawrence

But even before that, before Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, we read…

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.    ~~  Genesis 3:8 (KJV)

It is said so matter-of-factly that we are led to believe this was a common occurrence. That God walked in the garden regularly.

How many of us are constantly aware of the presence of God in our lives? Whether we are sitting in church or scrubbing the toilet, God is present – with us.

Does this thought comfort you or scare you?

In one way, it scares the puddin’ out of me.

God is a witness to everything I do, or think, or say. Therefore I must be very careful of my thoughts, words, and deeds. They must never disgrace the glory of God. They must never reflect badly on the name of Christ.

Every Christian is commissioned to be a witness for Christ.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  ~~ Acts 1:8 (KJV)

That’s not a part time job. It’s 24 – 7 – 365. An awesome responsibility!

But the thought of God present with me at all times comforts me as well.

It comforts me when I am uncertain what to do next. I can simply breathe a prayer for guidance and be led in the right direction or be content to stay still awaiting his nudge.

When things of this world look terribly wrong, it comforts me to know that He is not surprised by this circumstance or happening. He was there before it, and He has a plan to get me through it – no matter how terrible or devastating it may look on the surface.

The presence of God is an awesome thing. It’s reassuring to know that I have His constant companionship. It makes anything the world or the enemy can throw at me of no consequence because my God is bigger than that.

And it’s humbling, too. Why would a God so big He can create with just a word spend time with me, love me as if I were His only child? Amazing!

Neither disease, nor violence, nor natural disaster can make me fear for my life. God knew my last breath before I took the first one. My life is safe in His hands.

So is yours.

Father, God,

Help us to be more aware of Your presence – at all times, in all circumstances. Give us the grace to look to you rather than the happenings of this world. Thank You for loving us as you do. Let us never bring shame to the name of Christ.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen

 

Commissioned

And I came this day unto the well, and said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go:

Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;

And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master’s son.

And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.

And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also.

And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, the daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.

And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son. ~~  Genesis 24:42-48 (KJV)

We are not told his name, nor anything else about him except that he is Abraham’s servant. But his fidelity to his duty is crucial to God’s plans.

You will note that he doesn’t pray to his own god, but the God of his master. Does he believe in Abraham’s God? We’re not told that. At least he believes God has power – the power to make his journey for Abraham successful.

Can God use an unbeliever to further His kingdom? God can do anything.

We are told the the servant sets out on his journey well-prepared. He comes to the appointed place and gets right to the point with Rebekah, Laban and Bethuel. He was commissioned. He prepared. He journeyed. He prayed. He followed through.

What is our commission, and how do we respond to it? Jesus said “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15 – KJV) That is our primary commission.

How do we prepare? We must fill ourselves with the word of God, become intimately acquainted with Him, listening carefully for the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

We pray, always, for the success of this journey. If our works are not bathed in and grown from prayer, they will have no meaning, no matter how successful they look in terms of worldly accomplishment.

Then we journey into the world, prepared to answer all questions, being transparent about our love of God and His presence in our lives. We speak gently, but boldly. And we love – unconditionally.

Father, God,

Keep us ever faithful to our servant-hood and grant us favor in furthering your Kingdom. Help us to remember that prayer is our first and most powerful weapon in this journey. Grant us tender hearts to connect with those we meet and love them unconditionally.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Promise Fulfilled

Focus verses: Isaiah 61:1-3

This passage proclaims the coming Messiah. Jesus Himself tells us that when he reads from Isaiah’s scroll in the temple at Nazareth. “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Isaiah is speaking of both himself (this is what he has been commissioned of the Lord to do) and of the coming Messiah. Their purposes are the same purpose: to proclaim the salvation of the Lord to the world.

This promise has been fulfilled. But it is still being fulfilled. The purpose of the Christian is to be Christ-like. Therefore this commission is what God has called all of us to do. We have been anointed to preach the Good News, the gospel of our Lord.

It is our task to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God.

How are we fulfilling this job description? Do we proclaim the good news to all we meet? Are we kind and tenderhearted towards the poor and brokenhearted? Are we proclaiming the day of vengeance of our Lord?

Judgment is coming. The Lord will have a court date with this world. By our tolerance of aberrant behavior and our mealy-mouthed, puny objections to wrong in our justice system, we have failed to proclaim the day of the Lord’s vengeance. We do no one any favors when we keep silent. We are to speak out – in love – the truth of God.

Things he calls “abomination” must not be tolerated. What he calls “sin” should be seen as evil in our sight and those practices at least discouraged, if not eradicated.

Silence in the name of tolerance is intolerable. We have been commissioned to speak. Let us speak truth to all around us – always with Your love.

Father, God,

Give us the courage of Your convictions and Your truth. Make us bold to speak Your will throughout the land. Grant us a tender heart for those who have not heard, do not know, or have been led astray from Your paths.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Holy, Holy, Holy

Focus verses: Isaiah 6:1-13

Today we see Isaiah’s vision of God upon His throne. His glory fills the space. The seraphs herald the presence of the Lord with the words “holy, holy, holy.” The earth trembles at this magnificence.

Isaiah is humbled. In the presence of this holiness, he sees only his unworthiness. But he is cleansed by a live coal from the altar and given his commission to speak to the nation. He is also informed that his words will fall upon deaf ears, but he is told to go and preach anyway.

When we enter into the presence of the Lord, are we sensitive to His holiness and magnificence? Do we see his glory reflected in all creation, His handiwork? Do we listen for our commission to do His work? Do we faithfully work at our God given task despite what the world says about it or us?

For that matter, are we sensitive at all times that we are in the presence of the Lord? There is a small book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, which teaches about being sensible of God’s presence whether in the kitchen or in the sanctuary. It is an old book – ever new. We need to master this practice.

Father, God,

Help us to keep Your presence ever uppermost in our hearts. Show us Your glory in the world around us. Give us ears to hear Your commission on our lives and faithful hearts and hands to complete the work You have given us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Passion and Apathy

Focus verses: 1 Samuel 3:1-18

Samuel had been serving the Lord under Eli’s tutelage for some time. But the Lord called Samuel and told him what was in store for Eli and his family. And Eli’s response is “okay, whatever.”

Had I received the news that my family would be cut down young, I would have moved heaven and earth to see if we couldn’t change this edict. But Eli just says, Okay.

The Lord does not honor apathy. In fact, later in the book, He says he will spew you out of His mouth because of lukewarm attitude.

How often are we guilty of this ho-hum mentality? We get stuck in our little patterns. We do all the right things, but we’re just going through the motions.

God wants us to be passionate about Him, about our lives and livelihoods. He wants us to exhibit His Holy Fire.

Only with passion and dedication can we fulfill His great commission to us. Remember, the one where He says to go into all the world and make disciples of all.

Father, God,

Stoke the fires of passion within us. Stir up the embers of our love for You and light the flame of concern for all Your world. Grant that we may never become lukewarm or apathetic.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.