August 5, 2017
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I trust God’s unfailing love for ever and ever…I will praise You forever for what You have done. In Your name I will hope, for Your name is good.”
You want me to trust You so totally
That I am unmoved by any circumstances:
Then work in me that steadfast trust.
You want me to choose to do right:
Then turn me from wanting any plans but Yours.
You want me to revere and honor You:
Then refresh and revive me.
You want me to obey You uninterruptedly:
Then make Your Word my guide.
You want me to depend upon You increasingly:
Then reassure me that Your promises are mine.
You want Your will to be my will:
Then help me to love Your every wish.
I expect Your help, dear Lord
For You have never broken a single promise
And You’re not going to start with me.”
Ruth Harms Calkin
Lord, I Keep Running Back to You
Today’s Study Texts:
“What comes next is very important. I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until He arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.”
The Message Bible
“Where Thou Art”
Down in their hearts, wise (individuals) know this truth the only way to help yourself is to help others.”
Is there someone around me that I can help?
Have I ever been hesitant to help others because I thought I didn’t have much to offer?
“Do little things as though they were great, because of the majesty of Jesus Christ who does them in us, and who lives our life; and do the greatest things as though they were little and easy because of His omnipotence.”
“Always keep your eyes open for the little task, because it is the little task that is important to Jesus Christ. The future of the kingdom of God does not depend on the enthusiasm of this or that powerful person; those great ones are necessary too, but it is equally necessary to have a great number of people who will do a little thing in the service of Christ.”
Gathered around Jesus, His followers were taking in every word, knowing that soon their Lord and Master would leave them. In their conversations Jesus had verified that the Scriptures were true. He also clearly pointed to the fact that His death and resurrection were part of heaven’s plan to bring unity to our shattered world. And then, as if Jesus had a magic marker in His hand to highlight His words, He told His disciples that what He would say next was very important. In the King James Version of the Bible, the phrase “what comes next is very important” is the phrase “And behold” which in the Greek means to be aware. Jesus didn’t want His followers at that time, or down through the ages, to be unaware of the fact that when He left this earth, He wasn’t going to leave such a vacuum, an empty space, that everything would fall apart.
In fact, the Apostle John, in recording Jesus’ words leaves this wonderful promise: “Nevertheless, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16: 7, N.I.V.) It was as if Jesus was telling His followers that they should not be worried because He was leaving for a special gift was being sent that would fill all His followers with power from above. Jesus reminded His disciples that the gift of the power of the Holy Spirit had been “promised by my Father.” (Luke 24: 49, K.J.V.).
Then Jesus continued by telling the disciples to “stay where you are until you receive the power I have promised.” As I read this profound passage, I wondered why Jesus made a point of the fact that they were to stay put? However, if we recall the words in the previous verses of Luke 24, Jesus had laid out to the disciples a plan for taking the story of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected to all nations. Let’s for a moment say this message was given to you and me. And that it was our desire to do God’s will and follow His leading. I think if I had heard Jesus say “to all nations” I might have come to the conclusion that I’d better get my bags packed and immediately purchase an airline ticket to the most needy country in the world. But if we dig a little deeper, Jesus’ plan for getting His message out to all the world began in Jerusalem. In fact, Jesus told His disciples they were to preach in Jerusalem, then in Samaria and Judea, and finally to all the world. We might ask, “Why were His followers to stay put first? Why were they to first work where they were located?
There are several reasons but I’d like to share three possibilities with you:
Possibility #1: By starting their ministry in Jerusalem, the disciples were encompassed with a support team that was close at hand to encourage them when times got tough. They were a team that could work together to fulfill God’s call.
Possibility #2: By starting their ministry in Jerusalem, they were able to work in an environment where they were familiar not only with the place they lived but with the people they encountered and ministered to.
Possibility #3: By starting their ministry in Jerusalem, they were able to sharpen their skills. They could, through the power of the Comforter, study more and be more capable of teaching what was necessary so they could expand their ministry when the time was right.
“How,” might you ask, “Does Jesus’ advice and strategic planning affect you and me today?” There are many ways but I want to focus on the way I’ve seen God’s working personally in my own life and I’d like to use Transformation Garden as an example.
When the Garden ministry started, the plan was to have a short little devotional posted daily on the Internet. Looking back, my original idea seems rather “shallow” to put it bluntly. I certainly wasn’t digging into God’s word the way we do today. And as for a Prayer ministry, I hadn’t given much thought to that part of the endeavor at all. So God kept me in “Jerusalem.” That is to say, He kept our outreach close to home for He had a lot He needed to teach me. It wasn’t until several years after the Garden began that we got responses outside the United States. As for the Prayer ministry, what was originally a once a month endeavor, now is often a daily contact with intercessors around the world and I know that in the future, our Prayer ministry will even expand in ways that I don’t comprehend even now. As for how God has led me to re-evaluate my personal time, especially my habits, this to me has been one of the most surprising turn of events. As we started our journey through Scripture, studying text-by-text, I quickly realized that the time I had devoted to so many secular activities needed to be curtailed. Frankly, if Jesus had come to me when the Garden started and informed me of all things I needed to change in my own life in order to accomplish His plans for the Garden, I fear, in all honesty that I would have thrown up my hands and said, “That’s just impossible! I can’t do all of this! Get somebody else!” But this isn’t how Jesus works. Instead He says, “Wait where you are. Do what is close at hand. And as your skills increase, I’ll show you what’s next, even if it may take you to all nations, you’ll be sent fully equipped and empowered by my Spirit – I promise you – and I’ve never failed you before.” The missionary to China, Hudson Taylor wrote, “when God wants to do His great works He trains somebody to be quiet enough and little enough, then He uses that person.” God starts with you and me, right where we are as He prepares us to fulfill His plan for each of our lives. In the words of Teresa of Avila:
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours;
Yours are the only hands with which He can do His work
Yours are the only eyes through which His compassion
Can shine forth upon a troubled world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
All we have to do is start right where we are.
“Is your place a small place?
Tend it with care!-
He set you there.
Is your place a large place?
Guard it with care!-
He set you there.
Whatever your place, it is
Not yours alone, but His
Who set you there.”
Where Thou Art
“Fret not because thy place is small,
Thy service need not be,
For thou canst make it all there is
Of joy and ministry.
The dewdrop, as the boundless sea,
In God’s great plan has part;
And this is all He asks of thee;
Be faithful where thou art.
In thee His mighty hand can show
The wonders of His grace,
And He can make the humblest room
A high and holy place.
Thy life can know the blessedness
Of resting in His will;
His fullness flows unceasingly
Thy cup of need to fill.
His strength upon thy weakness waits,
His power for thy task.
What more, O child of all His care,
Could any great one ask?”
Annie Flint Johnson
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P. S. Thank you so much for the gifts you send to Transformation Garden which continue to assist our ministry here in the United States and in 192 countries around the world. 100% of your donation goes directly to providing for our daily devotionals and gift bookmarks. Transformation Garden is a non-profit organization so your gift is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for any gift you send.
Many of you have asked how to send a gift to Transformation Garden. You can help support our work by giving a gift through Paypal or you can send your gift to: Transformation Garden, 2675 West SR89A, PMB 1121, Sedona, Arizona 86336. Thank you so much.
Also, if you should happen to miss a devotional for some reason, you can go to www.transformationgarden.com and you will find archived devotionals. We also place the daily devotionals on Facebook so you can find them on that site also.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com and www.Christianbook.com or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. Thank you so much for your support of Transformation Garden.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.