Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Goodness Does!

My Bible study group just finished Week 7: The Kindness and Goodness of God, from Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself. God spoke profoundly to me using this particular lesson and video.

During the lesson portion last week, something struck me... Beth Moore wrote that "God did not save us so that we could look attractive on Sundays. He saved us and left us here because He has work to do --- very specific work. He has a mission to accomplish for kingdom gain in every generation --- all planned in advance and perfectly timed. In His sovereignty, God has chosen to do His work through us. If we miss our ministry, we will miss our entire purpose in remaining here."

That hit me like a ton of bricks. I sensed God reaffirming His call upon our family to serve in the church plant that we are at, The Sanctuary Pickering. I sensed God telling me that He's not interested in just another church plant; He has specific assignments for us to do as His Body and we are to be faithful is doing the work that He has assigned us.

Let me back track a bit... these past couple of weeks, I have been feeling a bit discouraged as we have not seen finances come into the church as we had hoped it would (that is, according to how my human mind thinks it should!). There are specific things we want to accomplish but it seems like our finances are putting a roadblock before us. So, my initial reaction was to pull back, to scale down, to slow down a bit --- to not do as much as we had originally planned.

Fast forward to last night's video session, keeping in mind my mindset about the church plant, Beth Moore's message indeed hit me like a ton of bricks (again!). She defined goodness as "character energized, expressing itself in benevolence, active good."

She stressed that we are not to become weary in doing good as we are taught in Galatians 6:7-10. She defined becoming weary as "to give in to trouble; to become exasperated by difficulty, be defeated in spirit, discouraged, or faint-hearted; to despair, lose heart; to turn out to be a coward, to lose one's courage."

Furthermore, Beth Moore taught us to "spend ourselves" in doing good. That phrase instantly brought to my mind our parent church's overall vision and that is to be "a growing group of friends giving ourselves away for the Kingdom of God." She led us in studying Isaiah 58:6-11, looking at what can happen when we "spend ourselves" for God.

What I heard just blew me away...here it is:
If you spend yourself...
- your light will rise in the darkness,
- the Lord will guide you always;
- your needs will be satisfied
- your frame will be strengthened;
- you will be like well-watered gardens.

Finally, Beth Moore shared that in verse 8 where it says "the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard", the Hebrew word for "rear guard" is asaph which means "to gather in, collect...as in harvest."

To close the video session, she prayed for us. Her prayer did it! I knew then without a shadow of a doubt that God was speaking to me. She prayed that we would not become weary in doing good; that we would not lose our courage; that we would be strong and courageous; not be terrified; not be discouraged, for the Lord our God will be with us wherever we go. It's that verse again --- Joshua 1:9!!! Since the start of 2008 when God led our family to serve in this church plant, He has over and over and over and over again spoken to hubby and me using this verse! I guess this is His fifth installment of the year!!!

Lesson learned. We are to labour on... spending ourselves whatever the cost... to be strong and courageous... not be terrified or discouraged... not to make sure our needs are met first... not to make sure there is money in the bank before proceeding... to have faith that God will make our light rise in the darkness... He will guide us always... He will meet our needs... He will strengthen our frame... we will become like a well-watered garden... He will gather in for us... He will bring us the harvest!

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, ..."
---Galatians 6:9-10 NIV

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