Adventure Family

Strength to Soar

Shifting his backpack, James let out a long breath. He and his dad were high in the Rocky Mountains on a long hike on the Continental Divide Trail. The path was rugged, and James was tired. Suddenly his father stopped. “Look, son!” James looked where his father was pointing. Over the valley, a large bird was soaring. It was dark brown with a white head, and it gave a shrill cry.

“Dad, it’s a bald eagle!” James said.

His father grinned. “Is that awesome, or what?” Grabbing his binoculars, James watched the eagle. It made powerful strokes with its wings and then glided, the feathers of its wingtips extended.

“It must have a six-foot wingspan!” James said, handing his dad the binoculars. Both of them stood there, admiring the majestic creature. As he watched it fly, James breathed in deeply, his weariness gone.

Even kids get worn out sometimes, especially when the going gets rough. Are you feeling weary? Are you discouraged because of difficulties you’re going through? Don’t give up hope. Put your hope in God. Remember his promises and keep trusting them. God will refresh your strength, enabling you to soar like an eagle.

Bible Verse: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Words to Treasure: [God] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29

Bible Gateway

NIV 365

No Matter the Circumstance, the Calling Is the Same (Luke 5:1–11)

Though our nine-to-five jobs change over the years, our calling is always to love God and serve him in whatever position he places us.

A few days after graduating from college — broke and ready to change the world — I stumbled upon a dream job. The office was technically a converted garage, and the health insurance was technically nonexistent, but everything else was perfect. I’d be working as a marketing coordinator for a speakers bureau. While I knew very little about marketing, I loved public speaking. Maybe this wouldn’t be just a job, I thought. Maybe this would be the start of a career.

On my first day it became apparent that my marketing coordinator title was simply that — a title. I was doing a boring administrative job that didn’t even require a college degree. This couldn’t be what God wanted for my life, right? Wasn’t I made for something bigger and better?

Over the next two years I asked myself those questions over and over again. I began asking God to call me somewhere else — somewhere I could use my education and make a huge impact on my community and world. I have so much more to offer, God.

In Matthew 4:18 ñ 22 we read about Jesus calling two sets of brothers to leave their day jobs as fishermen and “fish” for people instead.

In ancient times fishing was an ordinary job commonly held — the work was hard, and it certainly wasn’t flashy. But Jesus comes to these ordinary men, doing ordinary jobs, and basically says, “I want to use your skills to further my kingdom.”

I spent two years in my “marketing coordinator” position, and while I eventually picked up bits and pieces of actual marketing experience, I learned a lot more about hard work, patience, service and humility. My first job — and all my subsequent jobs — haven’t been glamorous, but I’m not sure why I thought they should be. Along the way I’ve learned the difference between my vocation and my calling. As a new college grad, I believed God’s calling on my life meant he’d reveal an exciting career that perfectly used my talents and gifts. What I came to understand is that my nine-to-five job would likely change over the years, but my calling would always remain the same: to love God and serve him in whatever position he places me.

Reflect

Are you willing to be used by God in your current vocation?

Taken from NIV Bible for Women

Bible Gateway

Table Talk

Jesus and the Children

Matthew 19:13–15 “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And he laid his hands on them and went away” (vv. 14–15).

Children should be seen and not heard” is a popular expression that can evidence any one of several different attitudes toward youngsters. Some would repeat this phrase because they believe children are too simple to offer any meaningful contribution to our society. Others say it because they expect children to be mini-adults — to stand still and quietly under any and all circumstances. Some adults believe that kids should be seen and not heard because, for whatever reason, they just cannot stand to be around children.

None of these attitudes is appropriate for the Christian. This truth, however, was not always well-understood among God’s people. In today’s passage, when several people, presumably parents, try to bring their children to Jesus for a blessing, the disciples attempt to turn them away (Matt. 19:13). We do not know why the Twelve forbid the parents from coming forward; they may just feel that the Master has better things to do than to spend His time with these little ones. Even though Jewish culture prized children, the disciples’ attitude is not unusual since young people also had a fairly insignificant role in first-century society. Still, parents commonly sought out respected rabbis to bless their children, and the disciples, knowing the custom, should not have been so quick to cast them aside.

Our Savior’s response indicates that children are anything but outsiders to the kingdom. Once again He uses them as an object lesson, telling His followers the kingdom of heaven belongs to them (v. 14) and that salvation belongs to those who become like children. Of course, Christ is not teaching anything significant about an “age of accountability”; rather, He means that only those who possess childlike qualities like absolute dependence and simple trust can turn from their sin and rest upon Him alone (18:1–6; John 15:5; Gal. 2:15–16).

Jesus’ words also demand that Christians treat children well. If Christ will not turn them away, how can we? Unfortunately, if we are not careful, we can steer children away from Jesus either through programs that separate them from corporate worship and the preached Word of God, or by just assuming our children are believers and not taking the time to disciple them.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Dr. R.C. Sproul often notes the difference between childishness and childlikeness. Believers must be childlike in that they trust and believe God without hesitation, just like little kids trust their parents. However, Christians cannot be childish, never having anything more than an elementary knowledge of the faith. Young and old alike must be growing in their knowledge of God, trusting Him like a child while maturing in their doctrinal comprehension.

For further study:

Genesis 27

The Bible in a year:

Psalms 111–112

Bible Gateway

40 Day Journey

Day 35

Thus there remains only one path for those who in following Jesus want to truly serve God in worship, and that is the path of reconciliation with their sisters and brothers. Anyone who comes to the word and sacrament with an unreconciled heart stands judged by doing so. Such a person is a murderer in God’s sight. That is why you must “first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” It is a difficult path Jesus imposes on his disciples. It includes much humiliation and dishonor for the disciples themselves. But it is the path to him, our crucified brother, and thus, it is a path full of grace. In Jesus, service to the least brother or sister and service to God became one. He went and was reconciled to his human kindred, and then he came and offered himself, the one true sacrifice, to his Father.

Biblical Wisdom

“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother and sister, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

Questions to Ponder

  • Bonhoeffer states that: “It is a difficult path Jesus imposes on his disciples.” What makes it difficult?
  • He also states that, “it is a path full of grace.” Where is the grace?
  • How did Jesus model the truth that, “service to the least brother or sister and service to God became one”?

Psalm Fragment

O guard my life, and deliver me;
do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you. Psalm 25:20-21

Journal Reflections

  • Is there someone with whom you need to be reconciled? Write about the circumstances that led to alienation from this person.
  • What step(s) might you take to begin the process of reconciliation?

Prayer for Today

Gracious God, thank you for reconciling me to yourself; now make me a reconciler.

Bible Gateway