September 18 Devotional
Opening Prayer: Father God, I come into your presence so aware of my human frailty and yet overwhelmed by your love for me. I thank you that there is no human experience that I might walk through where your love cannot reach me. If I climb the highest mountain you are there and yet if I find myself in the darkest valley of my life, you are there. Teach me today to love you more. Help me to rest in that love that asks nothing more than the simple trusting heart of a child. In Jesus name, Amen. - anonymous
Scripture: Jeremiah 6:16
Journal: What words from Jeremiah 6:16 are you really drawn to? Which ones are you resistant to? How frequent are the practices of standing, looking, asking, and walking in your daily life with God? How does that process enable you to find rest for your soul? How and are you resistant to it? Why?
Reflection: Within these 33 words of Jeremiah 6:16 is a wonderful pattern that shows us what it looks like to simply live one life with God- wherever we go, whoever we are with, whatever we do. In fact, it is a pattern I have adopted over the past few years that seems to make good and fruitful space for the Spirit of God to speak and to lead and to guide in all areas of my life and ministry, if I will continually live from it.
It all starts with stand. In other words start by stopping. Stand. Be still. Be present - fully present. First to God within you, and then to God around you. In other words, show up. I believe it was Woody Allen that once said, “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.” Show up with God and show up with others. That’s where it all starts.
Next comes look. Stand at the crossroads and look. Pay attention. Look for God. Look deeply for him in whatever, or whoever, might be in front of you at the moment. Look past the surface. Look into the depths. Search. Seek. Seek him in all things.
Then comes ask. Specifically, ask God. Ask God, “What are you up? What are you up to within me? What are you up to around me? What are you up to in this particular circumstance? What are you up to in the life of the person in front of me?” Ask. Ask for the ancient paths. The ancient paths are those well-worn paths that lead straight to the heart of God. Those paths that multitudes of other saints, poets, and pilgrims have traveled well before us. In fact, whenever we see someone walking deeply and intimately with God we need to take note because that person has found these ancient paths, and watching them can show us the way into the heart of God. Solitude, silence, prayer, scripture, etc., these things, indeed, are a significant part of the good way.
And notice that, up until now, we still have not moved. We are still in one place (stand, look, ask), seeking God’s heart, mind, and direction. And it is not an easy thing to do because our default mode of operation is movement. Our norm is don’t just stand there, do something. We tend to operate (whether we like to admit it or not) out of a “ready, fire, aim” mentality. Which, in all likelihood, leads to a significant amount of wasted motion. Our default, it would seem, needs to change more to a “don’t just do something, stand there” mindset.
And finally, once we have stood and looked and asked, it is time to move. Walk in it is the phrase Jeremiah uses. Walk in the good way, whatever that may mean. For, once we have received our direction and guidance from God, it is time to enter into whatever he is doing. It is time to move toward him (and his work) whatever that may look like. Sometimes it will mean speaking a word he has given us to speak and sometimes it will mean keeping our mouths shut. Sometimes it will mean simply being present and sometimes it will mean reaching out to embrace. But whatever it is, we can be sure of its power, substance, and authenticity because it has come directly from his heart and not merely our own.
And the result of all of this is incredible: you will find rest for your souls. No longer will we be exhausted and overwhelmed, but we will be energized and engaged by the winds of God’s Spirit. We will no longer be living a life divided into a million-and-one pieces, but a unified life that is filled peace because we are just trying to do the one thing—be totally his. Thanks be to God!
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Carlos and Sandy Rios are planting Rivers of Grace Bible Church in the San Andres area of Guadalajara, Mexico. The church is growing and many new families have begun attending. Pray for the Rios as they travel through the U.S. this month and next on home assignment.
Knoxville Inner City Kids Outreach (KICKO) is a para-church ministry with a mission to “Mobilize the Message of Hope” to the at-risk children in our inner-city neighborhoods. This is done through a unique program called Sidewalk SONday School. Large trucks, outfitted to take the church into these communities, allow them to share the gospel with children at multiple locations each week. Pray today for all of the families who will encounter KICKO this Fall.
Closing Prayer: O Lord, our God, give us the courage to stand and to look and to ask and to walk, that we might be led completely by you—and find rest. Amen.