Week Six: God's Call and My Response

Last summer, my wife and I visited a couple who are old college friends.  He is a fraternity brother of mine, and she is a sorority sister of Diane’s.  When we were in college, we had set them up on a blind date and they eventually married.  It had been a couple of years since we had seen them.  We were having a good visit over dinner when he dropped a bomb shell on us.  He told us that they no longer believed in God, Heaven and Hell, or the Bible.  Being caught completely by surprise, I was dumbfounded.  These were good strong Christian people for as long as we have known them.  I really did not know what to say.  I tried to convey what I believed and why, but he had an argument to contradict whatever I said.  It really did not matter what my opinion was, he was not going to listen.  I had never known anyone who has lost his faith like he has, and for a while my attitude toward my friend changed.  Now I realize God wants me to change my attitude and to serve Him by reaching out to my friend.  It may not change his mind, but at least he will have the opportunity to hear and see Christ’s love through me.

Marvin Scheele

Dear Jesus, I must become like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies in order to produce more wheat rather than just being a single kernel.  If I love my life, I will lose it, but if I hate my life, I will keep it forever.  If I am to serve you, I must follow you.  Where I am, you will be also.  Amen.


DAILY — PRAYING SCRIPTURE:

This week’s theme, “how my opinions and comfort level affect my ability to discern God’s call in my life and my attitude toward fulfilling it” has many facets and possibilities. I invite you to join me in seeking God throughout the week — how do our opinions and comfort level affect our ability to hear from God and follow the call He has for each of us?

Day One: 

We cannot stay the way we are.  Just like the grain of wheat, if we do not change and become a stalk with many kernels of wheat, we do not grow ourselves or the kingdom of God.  If we change to serve Christ and follow Him, we will be with Him.

John 12: 23-26: Dear Jesus, You answered your disciples, saying, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’ You even told them, ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.’ Lord, I know that whoever serves You must follow You. Help me to remember that where You are, there I, your servant, will also be. And that I, as one who serves You, will be honored by God the Father. Amen.

Ask Yourself:  Will I remain a single grain of wheat?  Or will I die in Christ and produce more wheat?   Will I die in Christ, follow Him and produce more followers? Will I serve Christ?

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, I must become like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies in order to produce more wheat rather than just being a single kernel.  If I love my life, I will lose it, but if I hate my life, I will keep it forever.  If I am to serve you, I must follow you.  Where I am, you will be also.  Amen.


Day Two

God is always there to help us carry our cross and burdens.  If we lose our life for Christ, He will save us.  Even if we give up everything we have, Christ will provide for (save) us.

Luke 9:23-26: Dear Jesus, You have said, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.’ Even if I were to gain the entire world, there is nothing to gain if I lose myself. Help me, Lord, to carry my cross and lose my life for you.  Amen.

Ask Yourself:  What is your cross (burden) to bear?   Are you willing to turn everything you have over to Jesus for His sake?  Are you ashamed of Christ?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I must become like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies in order to produce more wheat rather than just being a single kernel.  If I love my life, I will lose it, but if I hate my life, I will keep it forever.  If I am to serve you, I must follow you.  Where I am, you will be also.  Amen.


Day Three:

God has richly blessed each and every one of us.

2 Corinthians 9:8: O gracious heavenly Father, You have given us so many blessings for which we are so undeserving.  We thank You for those blessings and for how You let us use them to declare your Word to those around us.  Amen.

Ask Yourself:  Have you counted your blessings lately?  Do you have more than enough? How can you use your many blessings to help others and lead them to Christ?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I must become like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies in order to produce more wheat rather than just being a single kernel.  If I love my life, I will lose it, but if I hate my life, I will keep it forever.  If I am to serve you, I must follow you.  Where I am, you will be also.  Amen.


Day Four: 

We should never do something just to exalt ourselves.  We should be humble in whatever we do and do it to praise Jesus.

Philippians 2:1-8:  Dear God, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, then make my joy complete! Help me to be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind with You. Let me do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than myself.  And help me not look not to my own interests, but to the interests of others.  Let the same mind be in me that was in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with You as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Lord, I want to be humble before You and my fellow brothers and sisters.  Let all I do be to your glory.  Amen.

Ask Yourself:  Is the same mind in you that was in Christ?   Do I do things for my own selfish ambition?  Do I look more to my own interests rather than the interests of others?  How does my attitude reflect the things I do or do not do for others?  Am I a slave (a bond-servant) to Christ?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I must become like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies in order to produce more wheat rather than just being a single kernel.  If I love my life, I will lose it, but if I hate my life, I will keep it forever.  If I am to serve you, I must follow you.  Where I am, you will be also.  Amen.


Day Five: 

Here on earth, we are strangers and foreigners, but we are looking for a new home, a heavenly home where we will be with Christ for the rest of eternity.  God is preparing a city for us in a better country.

Hebrews 11:13-16: Lord, I know You have prepared an eternal home for all believers, and that many who have gone before me died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, You are not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, You have prepared a city for them. Help me to live in the truth that there is no need for me to look back, only forward because I do not belong to this earth, but to a heavenly place where I will enjoy your company forever.  I rely on your promise of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Ask Yourself:  Where is my home?  Is it on this earth or somewhere else?  Do I desire a better country?  Am I working so that I can be at home with Christ?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I must become like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies in order to produce more wheat rather than just being a single kernel.  If I love my life, I will lose it, but if I hate my life, I will keep it forever.  If I am to serve you, I must follow you.  Where I am, you will be also.  Amen.


Day Six: 

God is creating a new place for us, a place where we’ll be happy and rejoice with our heavenly Father.  He will delight in his people and there will be no more sorrow.  Oh, what we have to look forward to!

Isaiah 65:17-23 (MSG):  Dear Lord, your Word promises that all the current troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. You encourage us to look ahead with joy, to anticipate what You are creating, for You will create Jerusalem as sheer joy and create your people as pure delight. You will take joy in Jerusalem and take delight in you people. There will be no more sounds of weeping in the city, no cries of anguish, no more babies dying in the cradle. You people will build houses and move in. They’ll plant fields and eat what they grow. No more building a house that some outsider takes over, no more planting fields that some enemy confiscates, for your people will be as long-lived as trees. Your chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work. They won’t work and have nothing come of it; they won’t have children snatched out from under them, for they themselves are plantings blessed by God, with their children and grandchildren also blessed.
Before they call out, I’ll answer.  Amen

Ask Yourself: Am I ready for the new heaven and new earth?  What will it be like to live in the new Jerusalem?  How can the promises of my future encourage me to live today with hope and even joy?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I must become like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies in order to produce more wheat rather than just being a single kernel.  If I love my life, I will lose it, but if I hate my life, I will keep it forever.  If I am to serve you, I must follow you.  Where I am, you will be also.  Amen.


Day Seven: 

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I must become like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies in order to produce more wheat rather than just being a single kernel.  If I love my life, I will lose it, but if I hate my life, I will keep it forever.  If I am to serve you, I must follow you.  Where I am, you will be also.  Amen.

 

Day Seven:  God’s Word has challenged us this week to consider our personal response to how He is calling us to live in the world today. One response can be to set aside our opinions and attitudes, that notion of “dying to self,” in order to truly live for Christ. Another response is to see life through the lens of gratitude...even when the world would tell us otherwise.  We also could allow Jesus to be our role model and truly live for others. And yet another response would be to look ahead to the promised future — to live in the promise of heaven now. Consider each of these responses. Which one can you employ in the coming weeks? As you do, observe how your intentional responses start to shape your outlook, perspective, and attitude. Then slowly add another response, and one day you’ll look back and realize that you are becoming more and more like Christ.

 

Catherine Horton1 Comment