The following devotion was shared with our youth ministry team by Lee Mahon this week. It speaks to their ongoing efforts to develop a God honoring strategy for our youth ministry going forward and ties in with our message from last Sunday.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)
We’ve all experienced that sickening feeling in the pit of our stomach, disappointment. What we hoped for didn’t manifest, or it didn’t come together the way we imagined. As time passes, it can be hard to hold on to the dream, the thing you are trusting God for. Circumstances and situations get louder and louder in your mind. Thoughts try to play games with you as you entertain the what ifs, if onlys, and maybe scenarios.
Life is lived in seasons. We have seasons of expectation. Seasons of waiting. Just like seeds are planted in a garden; we can’t see what is happening in the dark, under the ground. We must hold on to hope and believe that the seeds we planted in faith will produce a harvest. It’s important to stay focused on God’s promise. Hold on to hope, stay steady and trust that God is at work. He is the one who said hope deferred makes the heart sick. He knows the perfect timing to produce the best outcome from what we trust Him to do.
Please be praying for the discernment process that we are going through to navigate the proper strategy for ministering to the youth and the search for the appropriate leadership of that ministry. Our youth are not only the future of the church they are a vital part of it now!
This Sunday we begin a series of messages focusing on the wonderful blessings we receive because of Christ’s coming into the world to save us and show us our true purpose. It is very important that we take time from the typical busyness of Christmas to slow down and reflect upon the truth of the Christmas celebration. In this season may we be reminded not only of the arrival of Jesus as a baby and Savior of the world, but of the truth that He is coming again to rescue and redeem all who place their faith in Him.
One great way to help build this anticipation is by having all your family members get involved in a fun and encouraging daily practice that is ultimately celebrated on Christmas Day. To begin, you need a basket or jar, a small notepad or slips of paper, and a pen. Place all these together in a central area of your home, such as the kitchen counter, fireplace mantle, or dining table. Every day counting down to Christmas day, each family member writes down a blessing for which they are thankful, folds it and drops it in the basket or jar. On Christmas day, gather together and take turns reading blessings pulled from the jar. Thank God for the many blessings you have experienced during this Christmas season.
Let us each ask the Lord to give us grace to overcome darkness, and live in His light, as we prepare our hearts to soon celebrate the time in which Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility. As we anticipate the day when He shall come again in all His magnificent majesty, may we daily live lives that honor and glorify Him.
In the opening of the first letter to the church in Thessalonica the Apostle Paul said; “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
He recognizes that this body of believers really get it and he can’t stop talking to God about them. He mentions their “work” which was spreading the gospel and that they did this because they believed it was true. When he refers to their “labor” he says it was “prompted by love”. Their love for God and for their fellow man. His speaking of their “endurance” is acknowledging that it was a difficult task.
I bring this up because it speaks to how I feel about this body of believers. I truly am thankful for the amazing journey we have been on together. When I look around, I see so many dedicated servants, people who have been trying to live out their faith in meaningful ways. People who are Kingdom minded.
Paul will go on to tell them that they have become a model to other believers. We are not a perfect congregation, but I am thankful to be part of it and I hope you feel the same way. Bring someone to worship and study with you as we move into the season of the year where we focus on the Lord’s birth.