weekly theme #6*
week containing New Year’s Day or Second Sunday after Christmas
“As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3a) Jesus is the foundation of godliness. It is not my power that produces a godly life; it is Jesus’ power. Isaiah 55 contains the phrases:
- “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake.”
- “Seek the Lord while you can find him.”
- “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD.
The Lord longs for me to seek him. My efforts to bear fruit are of little value without him, for it is the LORD who redeems.
I am a child of God, and I seem to ignore the fact that it is Father, not me, who holds the wisdom in the family. I am tempted by sin, sometimes seduced, but that does not separate me from my Father. His love for me does not exist because of my merit; I am confident of that fact. In a way, God needs me. He has chosen to reveal himself to this world primarily through his children. Even though he is constantly around us, most of us fail to perceive him. (Job 9:11 and Genesis 28:16) I, as his child, must communicate the character of God to this world by the way that I live and the words that I speak.
My current ministry aligns wonderfully with my gifts and bent. Yet I still struggle with the effectiveness of it. This week’s invocation contains two lines that are my prayer in this situation. “Look upon my ministry and banish all barriers to effectiveness and faithfulness. Fill my life and ministry with your Holy Spirit to the end that I may this day be led into paths of fruitful service.”
Verses 3 and 4 have caused me to pause each time I read Psalm 146 this week. “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their plans come to an end.” This seems to fly in the face of seeking widespread change through governmental, denominational, or organizational leadership. However, I think verse 5 enlightens the broader application. “But happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God.” My source of hope and faith is the key. Involving leadership is fine, but they are not reliable sources for long-term reliance. God is. Man alone cannot solve the conditions around the world. In fact, we are helpless against ourselves. We are our own enemy. We need to submit to the will and power of our Creator.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.