Crafted for Mission

What does being on mission mean to you? Most people would think you would have to pack up a suitcase, board a plane, and fly off to a foreign country to spread the gospel; and yes, that is a form of being on mission, but what if I told you that your mission field is right here at home? Being on mission is sharing the love you have for Jesus with other people who may not know Him and showing them what Jesus has done in your life. This fulfills God’s Purpose in our life, which is to bring honor to Him through evangelism. He loves us so we can go and love one another especially those who don’t know Jesus.  Matthew 28:19-20 says “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” By now you’re probably thinking: “okay, I get it. We’re supposed to love one another and be on mission to make disciples. But why me? How can I show people Christ when I make so many mistakes?” Well, the truth is a lot of us have felt that way too. I have found it challenging to profess my faith to people that I knew desperately needed Jesus in their life: people I went to school with, people I worked with, or even the people I live with. However, Matthew 28 tells us that, in Jesus, we are good enough and are called to make disciples of ALL nations, including our friends, families, teammates, classmates, and even strangers. When we feel that we are too weak, or not good enough to disciple, or maybe even scared to openly express our faith, God is there to back us up and make us stronger. God uses us as His hands and feet to show the work the unconditional love, grace, and mercy He has for everyone. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of Gods varied grace” (1 Peter 4:8-10).

I challenge you to create a top five, a list of five people you feel desperately need God in their lives. Pray for them, and Reach out to them so that you can show them Gods love. My prayer to you is that your relationships are intentional and that everyone that sees you, also sees someone who is on fire for God. “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). Allow yourself to be sent, and glorify God by being on mission in your everyday life.

Kelsea

Crafted for Obedience

Being obedient is an overlooked phrase in today’s society. No one wants to be obedient towards anyone. Everyone wants to be their own “master”, yet in the Bible, we see God commanding us to follow Him and obey Him over and over again in places like the 10 Commandments. In John 15, Jesus calls us to “Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). The Apostle Paul reminds us “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). The commandments and laws that God gives us may be worded differently throughout the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that we can listen to some and ignore others.

All of God’s commandments apply to us 100% of the time, no matter what season of life we may be in. God calls us to love Him, and loving Him is obeying Him. “Love the LORD your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always” (Deuteronomy 11:1). This isn’t a suggestion either. In order to be a fully devoted follower of Christ, we live our lives obeying God, as He intends us to do. God crafted us in such a way, that we are His people; and because of His love for us, we now willingly serve and obey the Lord without expecting anything in return. But know this, “that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:24).

Staying true to God’s Word and His laws is an impossible task to do perfectly for us humans but it is a vital thing to strive for in our walk with Christ. He has crafted us to be obedient towards Him. When we obey God’s Word for our lives we bear fruit for the Kingdom of God. As you go about your day, look for ways to obey God’s leading. Instead of turning on the TV or spending time on some App, take some time to open up God’s Word, hear his message to you and then follow Him today!

Niki 

Crafted for Worship

Worship is all about love, and today the meaning of worship has been distorted. Worship is not selfish and it doesn’t just happen on Sundays as many have been led to think. Worship is all about bringing pleasure to God and allowing your spirit to respond to His. True acts of worship are in everything you do, “so whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If you are not living to worship Christ, then you are living to worship the world.

God loves you. He loves you so much that He created you despite the heartache it would cause Him. God created you with so much love, that He was willing to die for you “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). God is in love with you and your heart no matter how many times you break His. I know that I can’t possibly love Him back as much as He loves me, and yet He still takes pleasure in me! It blows me away to think that the Creator of the Universe takes pleasure in me, and I should be in continual thankfulness for all that He has done for me. God is the only one who is truly worthy of our worship and praise. God crafted us specifically to gain joy in His presence, He crafted a God-sized hole in you that only He can fill. Often times, however, we find ourselves worshiping things that aren’t worthy of our love and praise. We find ourselves immersed in things that will only matter for a short period of time. God, on the other hand, has mattered forever and will continue to matter for eternity. “Set your mind on the things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). So, open up a conversation with God throughout the day and have a relationship with Him. Be heartfelt with God and tell Him how you feel; vent to Him when you don’t understand, and thank Him when you do. When you begin to walk with God every day you will grow closer to Him and gain pleasure in God’s creation; your heart will start to break with what breaks God’s. Worship God because that is what you were meant to do, fall in love with Him because He has created you for it and He is worthy of it.

Don’t wait to worship God, start now by entering into the loving relationship between God and yourself. Allow God to work in your life, and worship Him, praise Him constantly today and every day.

– Connor

 

Crafted for Relationship

It is hard to believe that the Creator of the Universe wants a personal and intimate relationship with you, but He does! God created us in His image and despite our sin, He loves us and even sacrificed His own son so that we could be saved. It is easy at times to feel unworthy of God’s love and mercy towards us, but knowing God wants an eternal friendship with us despite our sin and darkness is so comforting.  “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). This shows God’s great love towards His people and in return, God desires a personal relationship with each of us.

We were created to have a personal relationship with our Creator and we have so much to gain if we seek this. Having a deep relationship with God brings complete fulfillment into our lives. Before my life was focused on being close to the Lord I felt lost and alone during the hard times. God is my hope and my peace now. Since I have a close relationship with God I am no longer focused on what other people think of me or of wanting to fit in. Now I know I have an eternal friendship with God and I find peace in that. A relationship with God fills the void that we all have; we NEED a personal relationship with our Lord. As said in Psalm 18:1-3, God can be your rock, your shield, and your strength if you just put your trust fully in him. A relationship with God also affects your worldly relationships. The better you love God the better you will love his people. God loves us selflessly and knowing that makes me want to love others in the same way.

Having a close relationship with God goes beyond just going to church and saying you’re a Christian. An intimate relationship with God is a desire for friendship with him. “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works” (Psalm 73:28). To experience an intimate relationship with God we draw near to him. We do this by trusting in God and gaining knowledge of Him. The more you know God the more you will love him. It is also important to accept and acknowledge God in all aspects of your life.

We were created to have a deep relationship with God so I challenge you to draw even closer to Him and ask yourself where you can grow your friendship with God. This could be to pray more often, read your bible to widen your knowledge of Him, or to invite God into every part of your life.

Dakotah

Crafted for Surrender

I’ve always loved playing basketball. In high school I began to realize that, because of wanting to live a Christ-centered life, I was viewed differently by my teammates. Being different isn’t always a bad thing; in fact, Jesus was not accepted by his society either. He was so rejected by his society he was later put to death on the cross. The ultimate example of surrender comes from Jesus who was in worse circumstances than you and I. In the garden of Gethsemane before Jesus’s crucifixion “he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). As observed in the verse, Jesus was on his face praying to God. He was not in a posture of self-righteousness, rather, He was in a posture of complete surrender; ready to submit to the Father’s will. I can only imagine how hard it was to surrender to God’s will knowing the pain and suffering He was going to endure. Jesus could have come down off the cross at any point, but instead, He chose to endure the wrath of God for all of humanity’s sins as well as separation from God.

I got the opportunity to experience what it is like to surrender your will to God’s will on a recent mission trip to Haiti with my church. We had everything planned out from what to do and when to do it, but God’s plan was greater. God placed different opportunities in our day that weren’t on our itinerary, allowing us to teach people about the great love of God and his death for us. We had to surrender to God’s will and not our own.

We have opportunities in our everyday life to talk about the love of God and live out our faith. We can choose to surrender to God’s will or our own will, but only when we surrender to His will can we glorify God. What is something you need to surrender to God today?

Thomas

Crafted for Restoration

When I was a little kid my favorite thing to do was play hide and go seek. Inside, outside, in the store, daytime or nighttime, I was down to play. And I was good at it. I’ll admit there were times that I either hid so long that I got left outside or got yelled at for scaring my mom. But the truth is, I hide from God too.

The verse right before Genesis 3 states that “the man (Adam) and his wife (Eve) were both naked and they were not ashamed”. The second after they ate the fruit “their eyes opened and they knew they were naked” (Genesis 3:7) and immediately they tried to cover themselves up and hide from God (Genesis 3: 7-8). This is one of the most heartbreaking parts of the bible in my opinion. Sin has entered this world and mankind has fallen from perfection. Now Adam and Eve are hiding from the one person no one can hide from. They are hiding from God, the creator of the universe.

If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can admit that we all hide. I hide when I know that I am deep in sin. I hide from my church family because I don’t want to be called out on something that I know I’m not supposed to be doing. When I go to God in prayer I tell Him everything except the parts that aren’t pretty. I want my Father to be proud of me. I want Him to see all the good I am doing, not the bad. So like a kid playing hide and seek and like Adam and Eve we all hide.

When we are living in sin we tend to hide from God instead of running to Him. Part of the beauty that came from what Jesus did for us on the cross is now it is possible for us to have access into the presence of God. God wants us to come to Him even in our darkest moments when we want to hide. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I pray that you will believe this to be true today. That whatever you are hiding from God is revealed to you and you do something about it. That you come to God asking for forgiveness knowing that He offers this and so much more. I pray you will tell someone that you trust who will be able to keep you accountable for the times when you want to hide and that you begin to experience firsthand the restoration God has for you!

Ava

 

Crafted for Purpose

The definition of crafted is to exercise skill in making something. In the eyes of Christ, that “something” is you. Psalm 139:1-5 states, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You searched out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” The pure beauty in being made by the King of the universe is knowing you were and are crafted, created, and beautifully made for a purpose.

So the ultimate question is, what is that purpose? For some, you may think it is to get that raise you have worked so hard for, or to get accepted into the college of your dreams, or just to be accepted by others. God, however, has crafted us for so much more: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second [Commandment] is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). The word love appears all throughout the Bible. This is because Love is what the greatest commandment is all about. When you know how much you are loved by Jesus and learn to love Christ with all of your heart, everything else falls into place.

In “The Purpose Driven Life,” the author, Rick Warren says “we are crafted to become like Christ — God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him, and the power to do what pleases him.” I love how Rick Warren emphasizes how important it is to strive to become like Christ. When you learn to love Christ, you learn to love His creation (including yourself). Through it all, God teaches you to love others as well as you love yourself because He has sculpted and made each unique in His own way. Yes, everyone is different, but learning to Love others because Christ made them is one of the most powerful ways we live out our purpose.

Being confused as to what exactly your purpose may be, is normal. But relying on God and resting your worries on him teaches you to trust that He has a plan for you. “Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him” (Colossians 1:16).  His plan and purpose for you may look different than for others, but trust that He knows you intimately and knows exactly what is best for you. He knows it all. I pray you rest your worries in Christ, know that you have a purpose and that it is all on his timing, not your own. Lastly, as you live out the purpose God has for you, ask Him to help you love deeper each day, just as Jesus loves you.

Rylee 

Selfless

“Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” –1 Peter 4:11

In this final passage, Peter tells us how to use our gifts that God has so graciously given us.  Peter writes that whoever speaks should do so using his words, and whoever serves should do so using the strength that he has given us. By doing this, our selflessness points others to our glorious God. These gifts are not our own and we are called to use his gifts to glorify him.

“Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long,” (Psalms 35:28). We are to use our tongues and our actions to praise God. Peter tells us that we do this in order to bring glory to God in all that we do. Our God is an awesome God, and we should strive to serve for him and spread love in his name in order to bring others to Christ and show others how amazing he truly is.

Since this is the last devotional, I’m going to give you a life-long call to action. Go and serve in the name of Christ. Shout his name from the mountains and the depths of the sea so that all can know and love him. Remember who Peter says we are. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Sidney

Gifts to Give Away

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” –1 Peter 4:10

When God created each and every one of us, he gave us a gift. God gives us these gifts so that we may use them to serve others and glorify his name with them. Some of God’s gifts are encouragement, prophecy, helps, shepherding, and teaching. I believe I have the gift of help, which means that I have a servant’s heart. Sometimes it’s really hard to use the gifts that God gave me for his glory rather than my own.

Peter tells us that we are to use these gifts to serve one another. The greatest example of serving others comes from Jesus. Jesus came to this earth, not as a mean, hard-headed king, but as a servant. He served others to show us how to serve. We are called by God to use our gifts to serve other people in order to show them Christ. It can be hard to serve those that don’t also serve you, but Jesus didn’t die for all of mankind expecting us to repay him someday. We are called to be like Jesus and serve others graciously.

Peter says that we are to serve others using our gifts as good stewards of God’s grace. This means that we need to serve others with the same grace that God gave us. We are called to be like Christ in our serving and to show his grace and kindness towards others. So, we are to use the gifts that God has so graciously given to us to help others and show who God is through our actions.

The gifts that God gave us when he created us are not for our own keeping. We must give these gifts away and show those around us the mercy and grace that Jesus has given us. Today I urge you to use the gifts that God has given you on someone other than yourself. Go and serve.

Sidney

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

“Above all, keep loving each other earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” –1 Peter 4: 8-9

Being in relationship with people means sometimes we are hurt by them. I’m sure I’ve hurt people with words I’ve said or things I’ve done, and people have hurt me with their words and actions as well. In the Bible, Peter tells us to “love each other earnestly.” But how do we do that? Instead of giving the cold shoulder we’re called to love them instead. Jesus is our perfect example because he didn’t retaliate or ignore us. Jesus died for us on the cross because he loved us and forgave us of our sins so we could be with him for eternity. His love covers a multitude of sins, knowing everything about us, and everything we would ever do, and yet he still died to forgive us. He commands us to love each other because he has loved us. As believers we show Jesus’s love to others even when they are difficult to love and we forgive them no matter what they do to us. The more we love and forgive, the more we look like the image of Christ.

Peter also says that one way we can express this love is by being hospitable, and not complaining about it. That means being kind and compassionate towards others like Jesus is towards us. Servitude is a way to be hospitable, and Christ commands us to be his hands and feet. He wants us to love those we are serving, but sometimes it can be difficult to want to serve them because we don’t have the time or energy, or maybe because they keep asking you for favors and you never get anything in return. That’s when we remember Jesus’s love for us and show them love anyways. Jesus washed his disciples feet voluntarily and out of love, because that’s who Jesus is- love! Christ is the perfect picture of a servant’s heart and being hospitable without complaining.

This week I challenge you to love like Jesus loves, not because they are worthy or they deserve it, but because Jesus has shown you his love by forgiving you for everything. Pray for opportunities to show love, forgiveness, and hospitality to fellow believers.

Micah