Devotions for the Day
WRITTEN FOR YOU BY THE CATALYST FOR CHRIST TEAM
A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT FROM PASTOR SUSAN:
“Thought I’d share an epiphany I had this morning while reading...
John 20:14 tells the story of when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, and found it empty. The Bible says she immediately began to grieve.
When she looked inside the tomb, she didn’t see the two angels for what they were-ministering angels, she only saw them as perpetrators or someone who was out to hurt, not help.
When she turned around to leave, Jesus was standing right there, but she didn’t recognize Him either.
How was it possible after years of walking alongside Him, learning from Him, being loved by Him, and cared by Him,did she miss Him and those He sent to aid her in the moment?
Because when we are grieving, frightened, panicked... oftentimes we just can’t see Him. We can’t see the help He provides. We cant see. Our vision and our hearts become foggy.
What was real in this story:
He was right there and so were those He sent to offer comfort and clarity.
The Lord reminded me: through the chaos, the grief, the panic....we need only to open our eyes and our ears and we will see and hear Him.
Have a great day.
Pastor Susan Cruz
A MARTHA QUARANTINED IN A MARY WORLD
By Michelle Stewart
I don’t know about you, but I’ve done a lot of cleaning and projects since the world shut down. I’ve organized all the closets and deep cleaned my house more often in the last 6 weeks than I have in a year collectively, and this meme of the guy vacuuming the roof is a little too relatable.
If you’ve been to one of our weekend encounters, you’ve seen me in my natural habitat. I’m a DO-er. Last in bed and the first one up, you’ll find me in the kitchen prepping and cooking; doing and doing and checking things off all my lists. It feels purposeful, helpful, and appreciated. It’s stressful, but I thrive here.
If you are familiar with the Enneagram personality typing, I’m the poster child for a Type-2, “The Helper,” and home quarantine feels like severe punishment.
Jesus’ friend, Martha was a Type 2 - I’m convinced of it. You know her. She’s the PTA president, organizes the food bank, makes welcome cookies for the new neighbors, aaanndd she meal preps. She had a sister, Mary, who was really, REALLY good at just BEING present with people. You’ve read her story in Luke 10:38, when Jesus and his 12 disciples showed up at Martha and Mary’s house for an unannounced visit around dinnertime. Martha wouldn’t be caught dead ordering pizzas for a party of 15 - let alone with the Lord as her guest of honor! So there Martha was, in a high-speed wobble (my own personal self-awareness here) preparing a 3 course meal for 13 hungry men, when she sees her sister just chilling on the floor at Jesus’ feet, fully immersed in conversation with Him.
I can see it now, can’t you? Martha’s eyes narrowing, her lips pursing, her hands balled in fists on her hips, as she marched over to Jesus and proceeded to TELL him to make her sister get up and help in the kitchen.
If I’m being honest, the red letters in my bible that follow her confrontation always find a raw spot in my spirit. I can hear Jesus’ gentle voice, almost in a sing-song cadence, “Martha-Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only a few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”
I envision Martha forcing a fake smile, doing an about face back to the kitchen, straightening her martyr’s crown and pouting the rest of the night while simultaneously setting out an extra special dinner spread just to prove her point. Or is this just me projecting here?
TIME OUT, SISTER!
Now in week 6 of the quarantine, the DO-er in me is being forced to BE. There really isn’t anything left to DO at home. I haven’t yet vacuumed the roof, but I’ve considered it. Jesus has been asking me (us) for a very long time to slow down and stop glorifying my (our) “busyness.” You know the automatic reply to “How are you” is “I’m super busy, but good!” It’s as if being busy is worthy of a badge of honor or something. I suppose a worldwide pandemic demonstrates the drastic measures that Jesus had to take to get me (us) off the hampster wheel.
Life is very different now that there is nothing left to clean and nowhere to go. Some days, if I’m not intentional with my time, I feel really useless. I’m learning the value in BE-ING. The Lord wakes me up early and instead of rolling back over, I get up, put on my noise-cancelling headphones (best $50 on Amazon ever) and find my Bethel Worship playlist on YouTube. I close my eyes and begin to move and stretch and worship Him with my mind, soul, and my body. Then I pray for a while, starting with what I am thankful for and the issues I know people need Jesus’ help with. I listen to a sermon or two (there’s a million on YouTube) and then I journal about what I learned. I look up the mentioned verses and those that really hit home, I use my YouVersion bible app to compare in different bible translations. Then I journal a bit more.
Yes, this “Little Miss Type-2” is still DOING, but I’m also BE-ING and I’m CREATING. It’s amazing what’s coming out when I finally started to control what was going in. I turned off the news and limit my watching to an hour a night. My social media is limited to a few visits each day. It’s all kind of regurgitation of the same info anyway.
It’s as if God unplugged me (us) from the network for a forced hard shut down and reset. It is starting to feel familiar and I’ve come to know the Lord so differently in these past weeks. I don’t want to ever go back to “normal” again. I’m hoping my “new normal” reply is no longer “Super busy, but good.”
Who knows, maybe I’ll look a bit more like Mary when the world turns back on. I am hoping to hear Jesus tell me that I’ve finally chosen what’s better, even though I’m serving frozen pizza for dinner.
The C4C ministry team and I are praying for you, our friends, guests (past or future) and we look forward to hearing what the Lord brought to mind today, if you’d like to share, please leave a comment below. If you need some prayer support, we are here for you.
The Enneagram it’s a popular personality typing system that helps us recognize how we see the world, identifies our core motivations and weaknesses, and why we respond the way we do to situations (good and bad). While the Enneagram isn’t identified as a “Christian” program, many Christian pastors nationwide have led their congregants through series about the Enneagram. Here’s a link to a widely respected website that offers a Christian approach to the Enneagram and also a free test if you are curious.
Facebook: Your Enneagram Coach
PREPARE THE BRIDE
By Christine Potts
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"-- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. [Rev 19:7-8 ESV]
We’ve all been to weddings. Everything focuses around the bride. My favorite moment is to watch the groom as he catches the first glimpse of his bride, he’s overcome by her beauty – she’s prepared herself specifically and especially for this day.
Now imagine, how does the bride of Christ prepare herself to be radiant for her beloved? Righteous deeds, good works…
As I pondered this passage and how it applies to this season,
I heard “Un-becoming”.
Ladies, I sense that this season we are in is a cleansing period, a time of preparation. UN becoming who we’ve become; busy, weary, anxious, overburdened, chameleon – being who others want or expect us to be. Lost, depressed, frustrated, needy. Shedding the shackles of expectation, sitting in our pj’s long into the day, learning to be still and be quiet.
And working hard at doing the good deeds God has planned for these days!
I don’t know about you, but I think so often we become enamored by the calling on renown believer’s lives, wowed by the work they were given to do, that we dismiss what we have been created to do because it seems insignificant. Or maybe we feel insignificant, unworthy, locked in, incapable…
When we don’t see the value of the work, then we devalue the worker!
Because our intrinsic value is hard wired into us as vessels of the Living God, if we don’t value who God made us to be, we may seek our value elsewhere. We see it in Christian culture today, we waste so much time seeking our uniqueness and our purpose and our fulfillment, that we may miss the very work Jesus created us for…
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10
Ladies, the LORD God prepared good work to be done and then Jesus Christ created you specifically for your part. Jesus’ response to the Father’s purposeful design was to create you. You have all, ALL you need to do every good deed that you were created to do!
Recently, shoveling rock was an opportunity for me to apply this very lesson. I was dreading it even though it needed to be done, it’s hard work! But God has graciously given us more than we dared ask or imagine, so even this slavish labor could become an offering of praise. My perspective changed as I considered that this could be one of the good works I was created to do, to be a helpmeet to my husband. To show him I valued him and love him enough to work alongside him. My whole attitude about the work changed.
Scripture is replete with stories of people doing God’s will, simply by loving others well, serving others and using their gifts to bring God glory. Each day had its own work to be done.
I believe our Lord’s return draws close and He’s reminding us to use this time to prepare! I believe that this very season is ripe with opportunity. So, I leave you with this to ponder:
What things may need to be UNdone in your life?
What good deeds are in front of you to do?
What goodness do you want to be clothed in when you meet your beloved Bridegroom, Jesus, face-to-face?
Heavenly Father, thank You for creating good work for us to do! Jesus, thank you for designing us perfectly for the specific work we were made to do. Holy Spirit, would You give us eyes to see the work, the energy to accomplish it each day. We let go of who we have become so that we may be all that you created us to be.