Closing the Gap 9.6.18

By September 6, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 35 “Labor in the Lord” Day 4

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

1 Thess. 4:11-12 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Reflect:

Does this admonition sound compelling or boring to you?  If your life is hectic and the pace is beyond what you feel you can compete with or if you are a natural introvert and love to “mind your own business,” then this may sound wonderful.  If you long for adventure and more activity and action or you are an extrovert, it might sound painful. The context of these statements involved a church that was focused on the Lord’s return.  Their focus was leading them in exactly the wrong direction. Instead of their perspective on the “end” leading to increased faithfulness in the “now,” it led them to be restless and inattentive to their day-to-day duties.  They became idle and “meddlers.” They were not fully engaged with life themselves, so they spent their time illegitimately worrying about the lives of others. The result was that those outside the church did not find their lives compelling. Who would find restless, idle, and meddlesome people’s lives compelling?  Throughout the history of the church the eschatological vision (return of Christ in the future) has led to decreased faithfulness in the present. This is a tragedy of epic proportions. An eternal vision should empower a temporal vision. The fact that your health, your life, your job, your possessions, and your status will all come to an end someday should lead to a passion to be found faithful with all of it.  We should not become cynical and agree with what Solomon foolishly thought: “All is vanity!” Instead, we should be people who understand that, in Christ, “Nothing is vanity!” Don’t see this as “make it your ambition to have no ambition.” Rather, this is “make it your ambition to be faithful.” Have a compelling and controlling passion for faithfulness. In every sphere of influence where God places you, be found faithful there.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Denise Hulse says:

    Today’s River Church devotional brought back memories of September, 1988.

    A booklet called “88 reasons why Christ will return in 1988” had the church on its ears. Even though Scriptures tell us that we will not know the time or season, the words in the booklet seemed pretty compelling that Christ’s return could come at any moment, and we were filled with a pretty overwhelming ‘what if’?

    I wrote on on a sheet of paper “Wednesday, September 14, 1988:
    ‘Today is a very important day in the body of believers. Many of us were almost certain Jesus would return for us during Rosh Hashanah 1988, Sept. 11-13. Now it is the morning of the 14th, and we find that we are still here.

    But in these past days the knowledge that Jesus is returning, and that his words, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch” have become real to us. Then, it was right before his death, yet when he came back from praying, he found them asleep, at such a crucial moment, and he said to them, as he has said to us these past two weeks, “Are you still asleep? Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?” Mark14:37.

    After the church waiting for his eminent return for nearly 2000 years we had quit watching. Our eyes had become heavy with sleep, and we had lost the sense of immediacy and urgency to bring the lost into the fold. The day to day cares had smothered out what was really important.

    But these past few days, as we knew that each moment could be our last on earth, we began to see the world through his eyes, and things that had seemed crucial became unimportant. We began to get our priorities straight. We began to talk about the Lord to others, and to talk to him as we went about our days. We prepared for his coming, and watched.

    And now the Feast of Trumpets has passed and we are still here. But I believe that it took just such a shaking to knock us out of our sleep and bring revival to God’s people. I know that it has in my heart, and in our home and church. There are so many we need to reach out to yet, and the time is near. I have found scripture once again coming alive. As Paul said in second Corinthians 11:13, “But I am afraid list as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” Perhaps in this crucial time we have been brought back. Maranatha!”

    Now, almost exactly 30 years later, here is today’s devotional from River Church, stating much the same lesson.

    So amazing that God would have brought my attention to that sheet of paper as I was cleaning out the pockets of my Bible cover a couple of days ago. May we truly live “looking up”, aware that Christ could return at any moment, and may it lead to increasing faithfulness to live out the Word.

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