What Does God Want From You?

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message…

Sometimes I think we’ve made our relationship with God far too difficult and confusing. We strive so hard to draw closer to the heart of God. And all the while, God’s outstretched hand is reaching to draw us in.

For more than half a century, I have been striving, pursuing, and seeking God. And like a cat chasing her tail, I’ve been going in circles.

Circling in the wilderness with the Israelites, if you will. Saved from slavery, for sure. Headed to my own personal Promised Land, hopefully. But somehow stuck in the wilderness wandering ever circling but not quite reaching Jordan’s shore.

And I am not alone. Statistics show that one of the top desires of Christians is to grow closer to God. During a recent poll, 65 percent said they were declining or on a plateau in their spiritual growth. On the other hand, Peter wrote: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

We have everything we need to experience the ever growing, continually maturing, abundant life, so why aren’t we? Why are most of us languishing on the desert plateaus of mediocrity and complacency? Why are most of us satisfied munching on the predigested truths of teachers rather than pulling up to the banquet table and feasting with God at a table set for two?

“God, what do you really want from me?”

I’ve pondered that question since the genesis of my relationship with Christ. Perhaps you have too. When you boil down all the water from the diluted soup of questions men and women have simmered in their heart through the centuries, this is the one question left in the pot.

And somehow, we feel that if we could answer that one question, we would discover why that glory ache persists and how to satisfy our yearning.

I had asked the question a thousand times, but one morning, I got quiet enough to listen. And then, in the stillness, He showed me that my busy sisters and I have been asking the wrong question.

Rather than ask God what He wants from us, we need to ask Him what He wants for us.

I meditated on Acts 17:28 throughout the following year after the day God whetted my appetite with the possibilities wrapped up in those eight little words: In Him we live and move and have our being. I came to realize that what He wants for us is to sense His presence, experience His love, and delight in intimate relationship as we live and move and have our being in sacred union with Him. And when we do, He opens our eyes to His glory all around and the ache for something more is soothed.

So today, I encourage you to be still. Just get quiet. Breathe deeply. Jesus in. Worries out.

Don’t make your faith about what God wants from you, but what God wants for you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Noticing Your Necessary People

Thank you to KAREN EHMAN for today’s message:maxresdefault

My two small children huddled together, excitedly giggling with glee. It wasn’t Christmas or Easter. It was a different holiday — Mr. Brown Day.

Let me explain.

One day, my husband and I encouraged our kids to choose a “necessary person” — someone who helps us get life done each week — and then think of a creative way to thank them. They came up with the same person — Mr. Brown. And the idea? Mr. Brown Day!

Mr. Brown was our mailman. But he delivered more than just bills and packages. He distributed smiles to those along his route — never too busy to chat with a lonely widow or ask a youngster about his Little League game.

We took the kids shopping for trinkets for Mr. Brown — a squirt gun for him to use to ward off the neighborhood dogs and a gift certificate to the local Dairy Queen, so he could take Mrs. Brown out for a “fancy dinner.” We baked cookies and poured lemonade. Then, we hid inside our front door and waited with party blowers and confetti.

“Surprise!” we shouted as we threw open the door. “It’s Mr. Brown, best mailman in town! Today is officially Mr. Brown Day!”

To say he was surprised would be a gross understatement. He wanted to know what all the ruckus was about. My daughter told him we had been studying in the Bible about not just saying we love people but really showing them. And she and her brother had chosen him! He enjoyed the refreshments, gave each child a hug and then went on his way with an added spring in his step and confetti still in his hair.

A week later he stood on my porch and said, “I have to tell you, I am still not over Mr. Brown Day.” His voice cracking, he continued, “You know, I have been a mailman on this street for 33 years, and no one has ever done anything like what your family did for me. Sure, people remember me at Christmas. But no one has ever reached out to me on a random Tuesday afternoon to say they appreciate what I do. Thank you for Mr. Brown Day.”

Noticing the necessary people in our lives isn’t just a hobby. It isn’t just something we engage in so we can snap a picture, upload it on social media and have everyone elect us humanitarian of the year. We don’t do it to boast. Or to get a blessing in return. We show love to the necessary people in our lives because when we do, we acknowledge the fact that all humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

Every day and every week, our lives naturally intersect with many people, all of whom bear God’s image. When we look beyond ourselves — and beyond the flaws and quirks of others — we see God. We have an opportunity not only to greet these necessary people face-to-face, but to witness God’s very image in them.

Each person in their roles demonstrates some aspect of God’s character and His care for us. Our hairstylist can note the very hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30)! Our carpet cleaner makes our carpet as white as snow (Psalm 51:7). (Well, except for that one pesky grape juice stain!) Our medical professionals help us live, breathe and have our being (Acts 17:28). Yes, everywhere we look we see reflections of God’s creative genius and His loving care in the people who serve us.

Our lives can take on new meaning and be an exciting adventure if we stop to notice these necessary people. As we recognize them as image-bearers of God Himself, we will be more cognizant not only to thank them for their service, but to do something to encourage them as well.

Which “necessary person” will you bless today? I hear there’s a great sale on confetti this week.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!