Significance through Surrender

by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

Sometimes our greatest assignments, the steps towards our calling, come during the most mundane activities. And I wonder if the converse might be true as well. Is it possible to miss an amazing, God orchestrated opportunity when we’re focused only on chasing after something we believe will be amazing?

I never wanted to be a writer or speaker. It wasn’t that I was opposed to doing that; I just never considered it. I thought I was going to be a teacher. So I started attending college. I also began serving in my local church, mostly where I saw a need.

When our daughter was young, we lived in Southern California and were active in our church. We covered childcare for the Friday service. I soon began writing curriculum, sometimes that never got used, other times used for a season. I also wrote dramas, parent newsletters, and short story snippets. Rarely did anyone beyond the person I served under know I’d written it. But God knew. And He was working in and through me to grow me and lead me to where I am today. In fact, God used those activities and experiences to awaken my love for writing.

I’ve experienced opposite scenarios as well. I sensed God nudging me to launch Wholly Loved Ministries for at least two years before I finally responded. I felt I was too busy with my writing and the activities I found most important. I never hit pause long enough to truly seek God’s will in how He wanted me to spend and prioritize my time. I was too busy moving ahead.

I became overly focused on my career and under-focused on my Savior, who wanted to be my power source, faithful guide, and stabilizer. As a result, my stress and anxiety levels grew, as did feelings of discouragement and disillusionment.

Eventually, out of mercy, God intervened and put a halt on my publishing career for a time. It was long enough for me to launch my ministry and for Him to purge and realign my heart.

Back then, it felt a bit like death, but in reality, God was restoring life to what had become diseased.

Jesus said “”Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10, NIV). Those who are faithful in the little things will also be faithful in the big things. This means those who work behind the scenes, who show up every Sunday, who do what needs to be done regardless of who else knows or sees, will also be faithful in the big and glorious tasks. Perhaps that’s because their heart won’t be in the recognition, but in glorifying their Savior. For them in is about God’s agenda and glory—and not theirs.

We see this throughout Scripture. Moses, an orphaned baby turned Egyptian prince, turned fugitive, turned liberator, received God’s call while watching sheep (Exodus 3), a mundane and largely thankless job. God called the ancient prophet Elisha, while he was working in a field (1 Kings 19:19-21). God anointed Saul, Israel’s first king, to leadership, while he and a servant engaged in a three-day journey in search of a donkey (1 Samuel 9-10). Then there was Joseph, a braggart teen who received a God-sized dream but was “discovered” while faithfully serving as an imprisoned slave (Gen. 37-41).

I could go on. The Bible is filled with men and women who were called to amazing and history-changing assignments while performing mundane tasks.

May we all learn from their humble examples.

Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.                                                       Isaiah 43:7 NASB

TWEETABLE
Significance through Surrender – insight from @JenSlattery on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jennifer SlatteryAbout the author:  Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who theyHometown Healing: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Love Inspired) by [Slattery, Jennifer] are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.

Join the conversation: Can you share a time when God redirected you off of an obsession and onto Him? What was the result?

 

 

To Know and Make Known

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His
sufferings, being conformed to His death… Philippians 3:10 NASB

My husband has many wonderful qualities. But the night I began to fall in love with
him, something bigger captured my heart. It was on a walk around the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool one chilly fall evening. Strolling arm in arm, we shared our amazingly
common experiences growing up in the Plymouth Brethren assemblies. We laughed over our camp stories, so similar in substance though experienced in different places.
He may have been from Virginia, and I from New England, but it was like we had known each other our whole lives. And something clicked.

Our mutually familiar backgrounds proved to be a great foundation for an excellent
marriage. Our shared experiences furnished an ability for good communication and
understanding. On a profound level, we got each other, and still do to this day.

When God sent Hosea to prophesy to his people, he prepared him in a most unconventional way. He didn’t send him to study at seminary or into some kind of prophet-internship program. Instead God told Hosea to find a woman prone to unfaithfulness and marry her. “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the Lord,” he commanded. (Hosea 1:2 NASB). Hosea’s painful relationship with Gomer would furnish a visible picture to Israel of God’s grace: choosing a nation that would ultimately prove unfaithful to him. Knowing it would bring heartbreak in the long run. Doing it anyway.

That much is plainly spelled out in Scripture. But I believe there was an even deeper,
unspoken purpose in God’s unusual requirement. Hosea, through his personal suffering,
would learn first-hand about God. Through the pain of his own rejected love, he
would gain insight into God’s heartbreak over his people. That insight would inject
a passion into his message delivery not otherwise possible.

The Navigators, an international Christian ministry, have a motto appropriate for
every believer: “To know Christ and to make him known.”  The latter can only follow
the former. We cannot make someone accurately known without personal knowledge of them.

Some of that insight cannot be gained through anything but shared experience.

We follow a suffering Savior. One way we can know him is through experiencing a
bit of what he did on earth: insight that can only be gained through pain. Our heartache,
our hurt, gives us a glimpse into his. In turn, that new intimacy and insight into
God’s heart ignites a passion for him. The more we love him, the more effective
message bearers we become.

Has God called you into painful circumstances lately? Grief over the death of a
loved one, rejection from a spouse, hearing the word cancer, watching your children
suffer; the list could go on and on. Our first response is often to demand: Why?
Surely God would not allow this into the life of someone he loves!

The Bible shows us God’s love is precisely why he allows suffering into our lives.
God is all about the relationship. Suffering is one tool that effectively draws
us into to his open arms.

“Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for my glory… you
are my witnesses,” declares the Lord… “so that you may know and believe Me and
understand that I am He…and there is no Savior beside Me” (Isaiah 43:7 NASB). In the hard and sometimes inexplainable, God is at work to reveal himself to us and through us, His glory-bearers.

Someday, as the last tears are wiped from our eyes, we will understand the suffering
that was a part of our lives. Standing in his glory, we will be grateful to have been used to reveal a small portion of that glory on earth. So worth it.

TWEETABLE
To Know and Make Known – @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: What have you learned about Jesus through suffering?