May 3 – Devotional
Right now, we live in a time that makes it really easy to focus on all the things we can’t do at the moment – all the things that are not possible. My experience with these things is that it is the small things that we sometimes forget we can’t do. We may realize we can go to the grocery store, but not the bookstore, for example. That said, even while at the grocery store it takes some determination to do some of the things we’ve always taken for granted. Given the space we’re supposed to leave as part of the physical distancing requirements, I may not be able to get down an aisle when someone is already there, since there’s no way there’s enough space to give six feet of clearance. I find myself having to remind myself regularly that I have to change how I would normally go about going down that aisle. In the same way, I may have to go another way, since they’re asking us to only walk one way up each aisle. This certainly isn’t the end of the world, but it does make us realize that there are some things in this life that simply require more determination to accomplish than we’re used to.
There are a number of areas of life that are currently asking us to think differently about how to accomplish what needs to be done. The reality is some of those areas it’s very easy in some of those cases to simply throw up our hands and say it cannot be done, when in fact it can be done, it just needs to be done differently.
- What are some things that seem impossible to do right now, but still need to happen somehow?
- Are there any areas of your walk with Christ that you’ve given up on right now because it seems impossible, but perhaps really just needs to be looked at differently? Ask the Spirit to show you if there’s perhaps an area you haven’t even thought of.
Today, we’re going to look at some very well know Scripture. My sense is that while we might have heard or read these passages many times before, the circumstances we find ourselves in today may change how we live them out.
We read in Matthew 28:16-20,
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
And in Acts 1:1-11,
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
We’ve been given Good News, and have been charged with bringing that Good News to others. The same love that has been shown to us is also for us to share with others. Let’s reflect on that love by singing or watching along with this YouTube video. (sorry for any pop-up ads)
As we have in previous weeks, we’re going to take some time to ask some questions about how this applies. So what does it mean to live out the Great Commission in such a time as this?
- Are there areas that weariness and discouragement have set in so that I don’t expect God to work?
Some of us will handle this season better than others, but it’s worth asking ourselves the question if weariness and discouragement have set in, and if they are causing us to step back from what God is calling us to do.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
It is very easy to become discouraged. Ask the Spirit to:
- Show you if there’s any area you’ve become weary and become discouraged, and stopped the good things you’ve been called to do
- Show you if there’s anyone you can be an encouragement to, so that they do not grow weary
- Is there something I need to open my eyes to in terms of how God works?
It is really easy to become fixed on the idea that if something works a certain way, it therefore must always work that exact way. These days are certainly a challenge to this type of thinking, as things have changed out of necessity, with no real sense of how many of these changes will have permanent repercussions.
Yet, we remember that God has not been surprised by anything that has happened thus far. He is not wringing his hands in worry because he’s been caught off guard. But yet, we often find ourselves questioning God in these times because it seems how things ought to be have now been shaken.
Ask the Spirit to:
- Show you if there any areas that you’ve had your eyes closed to because it’s different than has happened in the past, or is outside your comfort zone in terms of how God wants to reach the world around you
- Show you if there are any areas in your own life that He wants to work on, but you have your “blinders” on
Scripture is full of examples of God working in ways people least expected. Christ Himself is one such example – He wasn’t recognized by many because He was completely different than many expected. May we be on the lookout for God working in unexpected ways!
In response to this, my prayer is that we would keep our eyes focussed on Christ, and that we would want to see disciples made, even if it means that we need to move outside the paradigm that we used to living in. May He go before us as we walk through uncertain times. May we be captivated by what God wants to do in this season and seek to join in whatever it is He’s doing. Let’s sing this great hymn of the church together.
Before we close, I just want to share a few announcements:
- Although regular office hours are suspended we continue to work. If you need anything please contact Pastor Dave (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com).
- Feel free to share this and other email communications with others. Some from the church are not on the email list and we have had a few that have not received it even though they are on the list. Please help us make sure that people are keeping connected.
I encourage you to do two things with your giving that may help a little.
- Do your giving each week as part of this devotional/worship time. I know it is not exactly the same thing, but it does help us view our giving as worship rather than simply a financial transaction
- Take time to pray as you give. Thank God for what he has given to you, acknowledge your trust in him for tomorrow, and tell him why you give to him and the work of his church.
- Best – E-Transfer (no fees)
- firstname.lastname@example.org is the email address you will need to make an e-transfer
- Please include your first and last name in the memo box
- If you know your envelope number please include it in the memo box (*Do not include the # sign as it will not accept that)
- Still good, but with fees – Canada Helps
- https://bayridgealliance.ca/give-with-canada-helps/ and click on the donate button to give
Thank you for honouring God by supporting the Church.
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’