I AM SENDING YOU
Do you remember a time when you travelled somewhere to go and visit family or friends?
I remember as a child, we would often go to Hartford in the United States to go and stay with family. It was a bit of a drive, but it was always special especially when we arrived at our family’s home. We were all so excited to see each other and they would often make special arrangements and preparations for us. The rooms where we would sleep would be ready and the fridge would be stocked with delicious food to share with us. When we are expecting company, it is special and there is a lot of effort, time, and love that goes into it.
In John 20:21-22 Jesus said, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
As Jesus speaks to the disciples, He is preparing them to receive the Holy Spirit whom they would receive shortly after on the day of Pentecost.
Before Jesus came to be born of the virgin Mary, God made of all of the necessary preparations beforehand. Everything came to pass just as it was promised.
I briefly shared about travelling to a familiar place but alternatively, when a person is travelling somewhere for the first time it may not be so exciting at first. It may be a new and unfamiliar place, and you may not know anyone. That can be a bit intimidating and maybe even scary.
Are you called to be a missionary? If you have not read this blog series, be sure to check it out.
Not everyone can be a missionary. However, everyone can have a part in the bigger task—by going, sending, supporting, or mobilizing others. Jesus is allowing us to take part in some way.
As we play our part in the process, it’s important to remember that there is a connection between being sent and receiving the Holy Spirit. Wherever God sends us to share the good news of Jesus Christ, He makes preparations for us. He prepares hearts, opportunities, relationships, and even divine appointments. Through prayer, we can make it a priority to seek God and trust that He will prepare the way for us.
When we remember that God makes preparations for us, we are more at peace. When we remember that we have the Holy Spirit, we are more confident. Not because of our abilities, but because of what the Holy Spirit can do through us. Lives can be transformed, people set free, and we can also be renewed and changed. It is a wonderful blessing to experience God and to be able to share that with others.
As some of our missionaries face the reality of travel restrictions, let us continue to pray for them. Jesus has sent them to various places around the world and many of them are still waiting. Let’s pray that God would continue to give them opportunities right where they are and that He would be glorified even through the waiting process.
Where is Jesus sending you? Have you ever been on a missions trip? Please share in the comments. We would love to hear from you.
GOD'S HEART FOR THE NATIONS
Have you ever been convinced that you knew something? Have you ever had a discussion about what you thought you knew for sure? Have you ever argued with someone who disagreed with what you thought you knew for sure? Have you ever realized that what you thought you knew for sure, what you had argued for, turned out to be incorrect? Or incomplete?
I’m afraid this of the case for some of us who call ourselves Christian. We think we know what God is up to and believe that we are cooperating with God in His purpose and activities on earth. Everywhere you look in the Bible you see God’s all about blessing us. He loves to bless us and we love to be blessed. So let’s all enjoy the blessings of God.
What we have done is turned the Word of God into something that is all about us. But I don’t think that is true. The Bible is God’s Word and in it He reveals Himself to us and His purposes on the earth. And you know what? It’s not about us. We are in the story but the story is not about us.
We certainly are blessed, but it is not just so that we can be blessed. There is more to it than that.
How do I know? Because the Bible tells me so.
Let’s take a test. If I were to say the first few words of a well-known verse of the Bible, could you complete the verse for me? Here’s the start of the verse…
Be still and…
I expect that as you read these three words, other words came to mind and you easily said, know that I am God. Of course you did because we all know and love that verse. Psalm 46:10 is a favourite verse because it speaks of perhaps the greatest blessing that God has given to those whose sins have been forgiven. To know God is the very best.
There’s just one problem, though. You didn’t complete the verse. Be still and know that I am God is just ⅓ of the verse. So you were not incorrect, just incomplete.
Here’s the whole verse.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10).
The first part of the verse is about us (if we have been born again). But the second part, fully ⅔ of the verse is about God. Without even thinking about it, we made a verse mostly about God into a truncated version that is about us. The blessing of knowing God has global implications, dealing with nations and the earth.
The major focus of North American Christian thought and practice may seem to be, “What can God do for me?” Our lives and our prayers reflect the belief that God’s ultimate priority is to make His disciples more comfortable. Don’t misunderstand me; I believe that God does want to bless us and that God’s desire to bless His people is a major theme of the Bible. But if we focus on the theme of blessing alone, we distort the truth and lose the context in which God’s blessings are given.
Over the course of eight more blog posts, I hope to create an awareness of one of the most ignored themes of the Bible - God’s global purpose: His desire and activity of redeeming mankind, the nations, to Himself. It involves the active pursuit of worshippers from all the peoples of the earth that will give Him the glory that is due His name. God’s blessings and His global purpose are beautifully woven together in the Bible. My belief is that in order to correctly interpret and apply Scripture, it is necessary to understand the connection of these two themes. To ignore either one leads to misinterpretation and faulty application. Ultimately, lives will be misdirected.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to the truth of His Word as you read and think on the next eight posts on this topic of God’s heart for the nations and that you will respond to His guidance in applying His truth.
Take a few moments to think of two or three people you know who might want to go through this series of posts. Share this with them. Maybe you would go through this together, as a group. If you do, please let us know.
And don’t forget to share this on your favourite social media channels as well. Let’s get the word out and then do the work of missions until there is no place left where Jesus is not known (Romans 15:23).
THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER
“And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart,” (Luke 18:1 ESV).
Want to change your life? The world? God says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV). The possibility of accomplishing great things rests in our commitment to prayer. Jesus said that He chose us and appointed that we should bear fruit that abides in order that, “whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” (John 15:16 ESV). If I want to change my life, find success in the world, and help others, I must make prayer a priority.
What is prayer? It is how we communicate with God. Prayer is simply conversation with God, and we are always welcome to approach the great God of the universe for a personal audience. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, the veil that separated us from God was torn in two, allowing us to call upon the name of the Lord. Jesus also granted us the right to use His name when we pray, so that if we ask anything in His name, the Father would do it.
Prayer is a time we can draw near to God. A time we can spend talking with and concentrating all of our thoughts upon God. Jesus told us to enter into a closet and pray, because in the solitude of the moment we become more acutely aware of God’s presence. It is also an opportunity to sharpen one’s spiritual ear. In these moments of quietness, where the only presence other than ours is God’s, we learn how to hear and respond to His will.
Prayer is absolutely necessary in this life. If God commands us to pray, that tells us it is of great benefit.
Too often we look at God’s commandments through a negative lens, but they are not meant to be a stranglehold or prevention upon the individual; they are meant as a protection that produces benefits in life.
For our lives to experience success, we need to pray. In fact, prayer ought to be our first response in every circumstance in this life. Our lives are not of quiet desperation, but of divine inspiration. God has placed each one of us in this world and commanded us to pray in order that we might bring His presence and blessing into our present reality.
Also, prayer is commanded by God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are instructed to “pray without ceasing.” He expects us to be people of prayer. Our lives are to be saturated with prayer and identified by prayer. The very words “without ceasing” imply the idea of never ending. That means we ought to be praying all the time and about everything.
Prayer is one of the main attributes mentioned in the Bible about the church; Jesus called it a house of prayer. We might even say that if the old adage is true, “Brick and mortar don’t make a church — people do,” then every Christian ought to be a “house of prayer.”
There is one last reason to consider about prayer, and that is that others benefit when you pray for them. Everyone knows somebody who needs prayer, and who better to pray for them than you?
Two suggestions in order to improve the quality of your prayer time: Start a prayer journal and mark the time when your prayers are answered— it will be a great faith builder. The other thing is to structure your time of praying. There are many ways to structure prayer time and if you want to know what some of our most effective are, send us an email or give us a call.
May I also suggest that you consider taking part in OMS Canada’s twice weekly virtual prayer meetings? We meet via Zoom on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am Eastern and Thursday evenings at 9:00 pm Eastern. Again, send us an email or call the office to receive the meeting information and links.
Start today: Set a time and let nothing deter you from your daily prayer. In the end, you will be blessed, those around you will benefit from your time of prayer, and it will change your life.