What do you see? pt 4

Monday

Charlie Warren

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

I often find myself buried in work. I will sometimes spend several consecutive days with my nose buried in school, or work, or law school applications, and when I’m done with one task, I will immediately be searching for the next thing to complete. I am filled with a sense of productivity, and I feel great about myself. For several years I have had these binges of productivity, and it wasn’t until recently I discovered how detrimental they can be to my relationship with God. Caught up in a productivity driven by ambition, I neglect to devote time to the other areas of my life; friends, relationships, family, and more. God calls us to lead a life that is devoted to him, and to successfully do that, we must lead a balanced life. For me that means to not allow work driven by ambition to let the other areas of my life wilt. Everyone has something that they allow to outweigh the other parts of their life. And while that thing may not be detrimental in singularity, when contextualized within the rest of their life, we can see it draws us away from other important pillars of life. The best way I have learned to balance my life is through an intentional effort to strengthen my relationship with God. Small groups specifically are great in that it allows you to hear from others that can more objectively view your life and help you find identity in the balance of your life and God, rather than identity in one thing.

God, help us look to you to find the balance in our lives. Often, we can be so focused on our homework, our relationships, or our careers, that we forget that a life for You cannot be lived properly with a singular approach to our time-management, but through a holistic one.

What do you see? pt 3

Saturday

Sam Donley

Luke 18:35-43 

The man in this scripture lives in the dark, confusing world of blindness. He is unable to understand the things that happen to him and around him. When we don’t know what is happening to us or can’t understand why it’s happening our natural instinct is to fear for our future. Fear is putting faith in the world and the enemy, faith that they will overcome and destroy you. Putting faith in the Lord like the man in the passage is the only way we can see past the scary things directly in front of us! Fear prevents us from seeing truth, but faith in God allows us to see that He has a place for you and He will guide you there! 

God give me the courage to put my faith in You above all the distractions around me. You will protect me and guide me even when my situation doesn’t make sense to me. Help me seek healing from You before I attempt to solve things myself, because I can’t stumble through the darkness alone and you are the light I need.  

What do you see? pt 2

Friday

Hannah Alford

John 9:5-11

“Well did you really have a bad day, or was it just bad for five minutes?” I hate that saying. I mean what the heck, who is this person to ask me about the legitimacy of my bad day. A lot of the time, I fall guilty to plunging into self-thoughts and isolation when I am upset, I think of how everything is affecting me, and how I am just struggling to get by. But, when I can get a minute where I can just turn to God and ask, “What are you doing in my life right now?” it can put a whole new perspective on my day. It turns from a perspective on the self (specifically myself) and makes me look at how my life is interacting with everyone else’s. Think about it, you are never the only one having a bad day, but if your head is looking down all day, you’re never going to see the other people around you who are struggling and can understand what you’re going through. We need a change of perspective, and I don’t mean condescending inspirational quotes to make you “think”, we need to look to God. To pray and turn to Him in our times of brokenness and not only will He lead us to the light, but He will give us the strength and mission to lead others as well.
Hey God!

When we are broken, lead us away from “I, me” mindsight we often get consumed in. Allow us to see, in these broken times, the work you are doing in our lives, and continually provide us with the opportunity to be a servant of you and lead your children into the light.

Amen

What do you see? pt 1

Thursday
David Conour
Acts 9: 10-12
It can be easy to lose our focus. To turn our attention away from the things in our life that bring us joy and instead obsess over all of the things that make our lives more difficult or more stressful. Sometimes we become so wrapped up in our own struggles that we become blind to the work that God is doing in our lives. Oftentimes, this blindness is next to impossible for us to fix on our own. Instead, God sends someone in our lives to help us see the light of God’s glory. Take Paul, or Saul in this case, for example. God sent Ananias to Saul in order to restore his vision and to tell him of the glory of Jesus Christ, and as a result, Paul became one of the most faithful figures in the Bible. He was instrumental in the growth of the early church. Yet without Ananias, he would have remained blind forever, never seeing what God truly wanted him to do. Just as Paul had Ananias, God puts people in our lives that open our eyes to him. These can be friends, parents, mentors, siblings, or even someone we just met. Whoever they are, they help us to see the Holy Spirit working in our lives, and restore our vision of God.

Father God,

Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you. To let your great love and glory guide my actions and my spirit. When I am blind to You, place people in my life that will open my eyes, and show me Your greatness

In Your Son’s holy name,

Amen.

A Place to Belong 6

Wednesday

David Conour

1 Kings 19:1-18

Do you ever just have one of those days? Where you feel like you’re all alone, even though you’ve been around people constantly? Where no matter what you do, it just feels like you don’t quite belong? I know that I’ve been experiencing that a lot lately. And it isn’t something that anyone is doing or saying, no one is making me feel excluded or anything like that, but sometimes it just feels like I’m an outsider looking in. When that happens, life can get hard. I have difficulty maintaining a positive attitude, I see all of my faults like I’m looking through a magnifying lens, and I feel like I’m letting down the people that look to me for guidance and leadership. So what do I do to overcome these feelings? Well, for starters, I take a deep breath, and I pray to God. I try to quiet the storm of thoughts racing through my mind, much like Elijah waited for the storm on the mountainside to subside so that he could hear what God had to say to him. I try to listen to what God is trying to say to me through the tumult of emotion, and what he is trying to teach me because of it. Once I feel like I’ve gotten somewhat of a handle on things, I talk to people that I trust about what I’m dealing with, because God didn’t put us on the Earth so we could face all our struggles alone. Just as Elijah came back to community after speaking to God on the mountainside, we must return to the community of faith that God has placed us in. Because when separated from the rest of the fire, an ember will quickly go out, but when it is among the coals, it will burn strong and bright.

Holy Father, Keep my eyes turned toward You. When I feel alone, help me to see that You are working in my life. That You are at my side, always supporting me, always pushing me to become the person you created me to be. Help me to hear You when the storms of life are raging. Help me to rely on the people that You placed in my life to support me, and to lean on them when my own strength is not enough. Amen.  

A Place to Belong 5

Tuesday

Ruth Hallstead

Ruth 1:20-21

I know I’m biased, but I love the book of Ruth. This passage in particular really hits home for me with this sermon series. For those who don’t know, at this point all the men around Naomi (Ruth’s mother in law) have died, and given the time period she is up the creek without a paddle. So she decides to go back home, somewhere she might belong, and when she arrives, she expresses her angst regarding her losses (she even goes so far as to tell them to call her a new name, Mara, that means bitterness instead of Naomi, which means pleasant*). Now she’s bereft, but she’s not alone. She has Ruth, and you really need to read the whole story to see how awesome that is. To me, this verse is all about perspective. Even when you feel as though everything has been taken from you, God will never leave you alone. That’s hard to hear and believe when you’re at the bottom of a pit, but it will always and forever be true. He is always with you, and not only that, He often puts people around you for times such as these. It’s an incredible example of faithfulness and love that never fails to remind me of how amazing our God is, even in the midst of brokenness and feeling out of place!

Lord, help me when I’m feeling out of place and alone. Guide me in seeing all that You’ve given me, even if that’s after the fact. Thank you for the incredible stories of strength and devotion as well as loss that can teach us so much about You, and show us the ups and downs that make life so interesting for better or for worse. God, you are an awesome God, help to remember that even when I feel like I’ve turned from pleasant into a sea of bitterness. Amen

*Names can have power y’all, so choose wisely, even if it’s just a car