What Do You Want?

Like you, I am spending a lot of time at home. We are trying to do our part to stay healthy and keep our city and community safe. I admit that I’m not used to staying in so much. I like to be out and about, moving and on the go. “Lord, what is it You want me to do?” is a prayer I often pray. At the end of my days on this earth, I want the Lord to say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:23). So, now that we find ourselves in a different way of living (for who knows how long) how can we make the most of our time? Here are a few of my thoughts and practices during this time of “social distancing.”

  1. Take this time to develop a deeper devotional life. Sadly, most Christians offer God the crumbs of a leftover schedule. More time on our hands means we can read the Word of God without being in a hurry. We can pray and not worry about having to be somewhere. My practice is to spend about an hour each day just being with God and then reading and soaking in His Word for another half hour. This may seem too much for you, but discipline yourself to develop an appetite for the things of God. This will enrich your soul!
  2. Keep connected with people. If you have family or friends who live with you, do your part to share with them. Talk, laugh, play games, and just enjoy each other’s company. Also, social distancing doesn’t mean we have to drift apart from our church family. Use the phone, Facebook, and internet for meaningful connections. We are not alone in this time of testing!
  3. Serve others as you are able. This starts at home by helping those right around you. You may also have the opportunity to help someone outside of your residence by getting groceries or meeting a need. Of course, while doing this, we practice wisdom and follow the counsel of our city and government leaders.
  4. Catch up on rest. It’s not wrong to get a good night’s rest or to refresh ourselves with a nap. In the Old Testament, God specifically required the Israelites to refrain from work during various feasts and holy days.
  5. Try not to worry. No one can guarantee an easy and carefree future. However, we can receive what the Lord gives to us, and hold on to His many promises.  How many times does He tell His people, “Do not be afraid”?
  6. Keep busy with projects. Have you considered it may be just the right time to organize “that room” or clean the basement? This season could be the ideal time to accomplish those tasks we procrastinate to do.

Finally, pray to the Lord each day, asking, “What do You want me to do today, Lord?” And then, go and do it!

Pastor Mark Boucher

No Shortcuts!

So, life is hard for David. He knows God has called him to be king over Israel, but he finds himself constantly on the run from the homicidal maniac King Saul. The Bible reveals that not once, but twice, David is presented with an easy opportunity to kill Saul. The second time, David and his cousin Abishai are standing over Saul in the middle of the night as he sleeps in the camp of his army. Abishai sees this as David’s chance to say goodbye to all his problems, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won’t strike him twice” (1 Samuel 26:8). But, David adamantly refuses, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?” (v. 9). There’s a special character quality we need to see here. David, a man after God’s heart, refuses to take “shortcuts” to achieve God’s promises and goals for his life. Through the Holy Spirit in our lives, we must discern between legitimate opportunities to be seized and shortcuts to resist. The enemy of our soul is a mastermind at tempting us to take the short, easy path. “If you don’t have money…just steal some. Are you lonely…just sleep with someone. Is studying hard…just cheat. Are you depressed…just reach for the bottle or drugs.” Even Jesus was tempted to take a shortcut. In the wilderness, Satan tempted Him to enjoy the kingdom “right now.” Forget the hard path of obedience and the cross; enjoy the power of ruling and reigning without pain. Jesus rejected all shortcuts. He chose God’s kingdom God’s way. David also refused shortcuts. He knew that in God’s time he would ascend to the throne…without having to kill Saul to make it happen. What is the “shortcut” you are tempted to take? Choose the path of patience and perseverance, knowing that our God is faithful! Let Him fulfill your longings and desires. Walk the path of Jesus; experience the victory of Jesus!

Pastor Mark Boucher

God’s Grace in Your Story

So, you think you have it hard? Read the Book of Ruth. While I was reading this yesterday in my devotions, I tried to put myself in Naomi’s place. In this short book of four chapters, Naomi (the mother-in-law of Ruth) emerges as the main character, referred to 23 times, whereas Ruth is mentioned 17 times. In fact, this book could have been called the Book of Naomi. The story opens with Naomi following her husband, Elimelech, away from the land of Israel due to a famine. They travel to the nearby country of Moab. While there, Elimelech dies. Later, both of Naomi’s sons also die. She is left in great despair…a destitute widow in a foreign land. But God, in His faithfulness, sees Naomi and knows her situation. He has blessed her with a daughter-in-law, Ruth, who is totally committed to the Lord and to following Naomi. After about ten years, Naomi hears of God’s blessing of provision back in the land of Israel and decides to return, with Ruth right beside her. While back home in Bethlehem, the Lord shows Naomi amazing grace and the story ends with great joy. Ruth marries a relative of Naomi and bears a son (Obed) who carries on the family name, eventually becoming the great-grandfather of King David! This story helps me consider the realities of life. Naomi, a believer in the Lord, was not immune to life’s difficulties. For a long time she had to fight discouragement and the temptation to give up. Naomi could have stayed in Moab and died in Moab…end of story. But she allowed hope to rise in her heart and took a step of faith back to the Lord’s promised land. As we walk with Jesus, we realize that difficulties and problems are never the end of the story. The Lord is with us, and He shows us the steps of obedience we need to take toward ultimate victory. He doesn’t give up on us—no matter our circumstances, past mistakes, or wrong choices. By His grace, the Lord can take the dark colors of our disappointments and use them as the backdrop for a beautiful masterpiece. If you feel you are in a “Moab” time, take heart and humbly receive the grace God freely gives. He has a good ending in mind for you!

Pastor Mark Boucher