April 23, 2014 – that is almost 5 years ago – God taught me something really important.
As I was thinking about what I should write today the thought came to me that I should go to my journal and scroll through it and just pick one to share with you – without knowing what it says – yikes :). And then just copy and paste it into here. So that what I did. I haven’t edited it and when I wrote it I had NO intention of ever sharing it with anyone 🙂 The sense that I had was to give you a chance to see what some of my devotion times with God are like:). Yep, a wee bit scary. But here goes!
Context: We were living in Steinbach at the time. And most days (there were many days that I missed – so don’t get too weird about this :), I would get up and spend time with God. I had a minimum plan – and that was to read 3 chapters each day. I was trying to read 2 chapters in the Older Testament and one in the Newer Testament. But usually that didn’t work too well for me :). It distracted me – it didn’t necessarily help me. So I would read in the OT for a couple of weeks and then switch to the NT for a few weeks. That seemed to work for me.
All along I was looking for something that stood out to me. A thought, a verse, an idea! It’s like going for a walk through a forest (the passage I was reading). And as I am walking down a path I come across a big boulder on the path (a question, thought etc.). I would then pause and write down my question and subsequent thoughts that I sensed God might be speaking to me. This was me wondering with God. Often the answer to one question lead to another question (boulder). And this is the way I would zig zag through a topic, thought, wonder with God. In the end I only touched a portion of the forest – but when I got back to that passage again (a year or so later) I would wander through another way!
So here is a portion of my journal entry from April 23, 2014.
Passage: Judges 11 – 12
Interesting to look at the character of Jephthah.
- He had clear boundaries
- He submitted to God
- He was truthful in dealing with conflict – detailing the exact account
- He was determined to follow god
- He testified about the work of the Lord
- The lord answered his prayer and more
- He kept his vow – even though it was a horrendous vow
- He raised his daughter well – she understood the power of a vow and wasn’t angry about it at all
- Although I don’t understand why this happened or was recorded
- The spirit of the Lord was on him
- He had the right to become angry after having to flee his brothers – but clearly he was a strong leader and he gathered a large group of ‘worthless’ guys around him – became a great warrior
- I really liked it that when he got asked to come back how he responded
- Dealt with the big elephant in the room – you sent me away
- The bros realized he was a great warrior – it was like he was called to this early on
Here we have a guy who became set apart and called by God. All odds were against him
- He was the son of a prostitute
- Became ‘deserted’ at a young age
These two things should have disqualified him but God….
- God had this plan work.
- He needed to humble the brothers
- He needed a warrior and leader to lead – someone who would follow him
God has the ability and joy to take the least of these and change the world with them. And there appears to be others like this as well
- The disciples – fisherman and tax collectors
- Moses the fugitive
- Joseph – least in his family
- David the shepherd
God I wonder if I haven’t always looked for leaders the way that you did. Character was of pretty high importance after you had called them and they were to minister. But that didn’t seem to be what qualified them when you called them. Perhaps I have been looking wrongly at this as well. God maybe those who have ‘everything’ figured out – need you – but they aren’t the focus?
J – Donavan, I am the savior, and I am calling all people to myself. The truth is – the brokenhearted and the lowly need me. The others don’t think that they need me at all. That is why you are to live in a way that pleases and honors me. Where you trust me and have great character, where I have transformed you – because then these people see me, and those that are ‘least of these’ have an answer for their ‘need’. I created it that way. Those that ‘have it all together’ also need me, but they WONT surrender to me, unless they have a need for me. It could be almost anything – but they must have a need – salvation, hope, peace, purpose etc. This goes back to the book that you read. First step to receive love, is recognize you have a need, and that me filling that need is the first piece of experiencing love
D-Jesus I get it – you are amazing! I love serving and following you. Every morning is a joy journalling and wrestling through these things. It seems that you always have a way of bringing life to me fresh each morning thank you!!!
After this I spent time praying for a few different needs that people had. And asking God specifically how I should be praying for these needs.
I would have left them in my journal entry here – but there was too much personal info, so I pulled it out 🙂
So apart from me wanting to go and change all my grammar – there it is!
What really surprised me is that I have changed the way that I have been thinking about leaders ever since. This wasn’t something that I read and left. It was significant for ME!! Something that God was using this story for – to help me on things that I was wrestling through. And of all places in the book of Judges!!
This is something that God does as we read the word and wonder together with Him. He begins to use His written Word (the Bible) to speak to us by the Holy Spirit – to begin to move us in a ‘God’ direction! This is the power of spending time with God in the word!
To spend time with God causes us to fall in love with Him. It doesn’t cause Him to love us anymore than He already does!! And in falling in love with Him – he begins to changes us on the inside. The result of that? We learn how to love others well and we become a BIG, SHINING LIGHT for the world to see. Because it is Christ in us!
And don’t forget that I really appreciate the little notes and emails that many of you are sending in response to these! It helps me know that people are reading them :). But more than that – it helps me know that people are taking them and processing them!
ps. Please keep praying for me – I am speaking to lots of pastors in Vancouver at a conference this week! I will give you an update on the weekend on how it went.