I heard a story once about a missionary who spent many years working in a village in East Africa. After several years her journey there came to an end. The village, as is tradition, wanted to send her off with a party and many... many gifts. There was one young boy who she was particularly fond of. She had spent more time with him, taught him english, and they had become like a family. The day came for the party and the people were celebrating, opening gifts, enjoying good food and sharing memories. The young boy was waiting in the wings to bring his gift forward with a happy smile on his face, obviously excited about what he had wrapped. He walked up, handed her the gift and stared at her intently to see her reaction. Which is always the best part of giving a gift. However, when she opened the gift her face became serious and heavy. It was not the reaction he was hoping for at all. “Where did you get this?” she asked. “In the village at the seashore.” He replied. The gift was a beautiful shell that inside glistened with beautiful ornate colors. A very special gift indeed and one that was only given to most respected elders and guests. The problem was, the village by the seashore was miles away, at least an eight hour walk and was occupied by bandits and even wild animals. “You shouldn’t have done this.” She spoke to the boy. “The journey is too dangerous to take alone at such a young age.” The boy just smiled, looked her in the eyes and said, “But teacher, the journey is part of the gift.” Consider John 1:14 for a moment. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This is what Jesus did. The journey was the gift. He came to earth so that he could sacrifice himself for our sins and restore our relationship with God. It was a journey fraught with pain, betrail, false accusation and crucifiction. Yet he made the journey with joy and purpose. In prayer today, consider the gift of Jesus. Thank him for giving his life for you and I. Think about his journey on earth, and then allow it to strengthen you for your journey as you fulfill the call of God in your own walk.
Day Twelve: The Journey Is Part Of The Gift
January 24, 2020 • Pastor Doug Lasit
Day Twenty: Argentinian Tango
February 1, 2020
In Cheesman Park, in the heart of Denver, there is a beautiful pavilion. On any given Saturday night, you will find couples dancing an old-school style of Argentinian Tango. It's slow, intimate and beautiful. I have stopped during my walks to watch, listen and capture the moment with a picture. I have been reminded of how our relationship with Jesus Christ is very similar to this Argentinian Tango. The first thing I noticed was that the dance is slow. Strong relationships take time and should never be rushed. Take your time, and invest in your relationship with Christ so that you're both dancing to the same song. Secondly, I noticed that the dance is very intimate and personal. Each couple keeps their eyes on each other and holds each other close. Proverbs 4:25 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” What we focus on tends to dictate where we invest our heart. As we participate in this “dance” with Jesus Christ, let's focus on Him. It’s kinda like, dance with the one who "bought" you! Ok, that was cheesy. But seriously, our focus determines our future. What are you choosing to invest in? It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take effort. It’s the tango of you and Jesus dancing out life. Finally, I noticed that the dance is beautiful. Why? Well, in the middle of a busy city, people come together to enjoy this tango together. In this day and age, this act of love and intimacy has caught the eyes and attention of us – the bystanders – which has caused us to evaluate what is going on. When we take time to slow down our life and focus on our relationship with Christ, we naturally draw a crowd. Our tango with our Savior is pure, honest and beautiful. In what ways today can you focus on Jesus instead of what you normally focus on? What things do you need to slow down so that you can take time to really see Him?
Day Nineteen: Generous, Unbridled Trust
January 31, 2020 • Sheri Campbell
Proverbs 3:5-6 (TPT) Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision that you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead wherever you go. Generosity is often thought of in the context of giving, but God is calling us to be generous, even lavish, in our faith and trust in Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to trust in the Lord completely and with all of our heart. There are many factors that contribute to every decision that we make, but the most important, life-giving, life-altering, peace-blanketing is direction from our heavenly Father. He sees our beginning from the end with clarity and asks that we acknowledge Him and trust Him to direct our steps. Our part is to “become intimate with him in whatever (we) do.” Other translations use the words “acknowledge Him, seek Him, submit to Him and to His will.” Trust can leave us in what feels like a vulnerable position. Have you ever participated in the team building exercise called the trust fall? Leaning backwards, you close your eyes and trust that the person behind you will catch you… that’s a hard ‘no’ from me! What if it’s the Lord promising to catch us, to lead us, to guide us? Psalm 17:4-5 (TPT) says, “Following your word has kept me from wrong. Your ways have molded my footsteps, keeping me from going down the forbidden paths of the destroyer. My steps follow in the tracks of your chariot wheels, always staying in their path, never straying from your way.” As vulnerable as we may feel, we are protected and safe when we are following in the tracks of His “chariot wheels.” The Lord says, “Trust me, let me guide you.” The more we trust and follow, the more we begin to recognize His peace and presence, and we are more attuned when something feels off and we need to course correct. What does generous faith and trust look like for you? Are you trusting God and seeking Him in your present circumstances or going your own way and relying on self? Commit to following the Lord and trusting Him in whatever you are facing today.
Day Eighteen: Soar While You Wait!
January 30, 2020 • Sharon Wager
Isaiah 40:31. ASV But they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. How well do you wait for something to happen? Few of us are naturally patient as is evidenced by the road rage on our highways or the impatience exhibited at a fast food restaurant line! If we manage to resist frustration while waiting, many of us get bored and fill our wait time with social media distractions – again not very productive! Yet many of us are waiting for God to work in some area of our life or family. The prophet Isaiah gives us a powerful analogy. Those who wait (trust, hope) for the Lord will actually end up soaring with new strength above the situation. From that elevated vantage point, everything looks different, perspective is broadened. One can see the end from the beginning of a pathway. Soar while you wait! What an inspiring picture. In practical terms, what helps us soar as we wait? One of the most powerful keys is to WORSHIP while you wait. Acknowledging the big, powerful, omnipotence of God makes my situation seem smaller. Worship puts God in His rightful place as my Creator, my Father, my ever-present help! Worship leads me to an attitude of gratitude which focuses with clarity on what I have, who I am, not what I don’t have and who I wish I was. Lord, this year I want to soar with hope and trust as I wait for you and wait for your answer. I choose today to worship with a heart of gratitude. I acknowledge that you are always working on my behalf and I wait with expectant trust.