This month’s Vestry devotion is submitted by Vestry member Bob Rae.
God of all, may our congregation be aware of our part in your larger church. Draw us all together into one great company of disciples, together following our Lord Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving Him in His mission to the world, and together witnessing to His love in our city and particularly in our local community. AMEN
Overcoming fear with faith
Faith is not exclusive to Christians…. after all everyone who crosses the street exercises faith. What matters is who you place your faith in.
Faith is one of the great principals of the word of God. Faith is a powerful weapon for the believer. The Christian life was not meant to be lived in isolation, if you want to be protected, you have to stick to a group and live like a family. A healthy people are a community of church goers who live in harmony with each other, so they can help each other, so they can challenge each other, hold each other accountable. And God honors that. Sometimes God strengthens us when we are all alone, but most often he strengthens us through the words and patience of other people. Faith grows better in a community; we grow better together.
To grow our faith we need purpose. Daniel Ritchie was born without arms, and it was challenging for him to function without hands. He had to learn to dress and groom himself by using his feet, and to open doors and to drive. His greater challenge was dealing with people who stared and hurled insults at him. As a result, Daniel came to believe that he was not worth anything and he developed hatred for the people around him. He was not a Christian and had almost no friends.
One night a classmate took him to church. That evening the preacher gave a simple devotional on Psalm 139 – 14: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
That message penetrated Daniel’s heart and he understood that God created him for a purpose. That he was a marvelous work of God. That night he gave his life to Christ. He now preaches and speaks at conferences and churches and youth events in the US and all over the world. As he put it, he uses his empty sleeves to point people to God.
Can we envision what God has planned for our church? Is it to fill this building with believers? If we only trust God for what we have, we cannot grow our faith. To grow our faith we need problems, and we need people. And, to grow our faith we need purpose. Jesus teaches his disciples about faith; he demonstrates it not by the size of your faith, but the size of the God you have faith in. Attempt great things for God and expect great things from God. The Bible says, we have not because we ask not. When was the last time we, as a congregation, we asked God for something which required a little faith on our part?
God is waiting for Good Shepherd to ask him for his help in enlarging our perspective, so he can enlarge our faith. If we shift our focus on great things for his Name’s sake, He will provide. He is simply waiting for us to ask.
St. Peter meets this guy who goes to heaven and St. Peter takes him to this vestibule full of file cabinets…. he asks what are all these file cabinets? St Peter says these are the drawers full of all the things God wanted to give you, but you never asked for. When we get to heaven, make sure your drawer is empty.
God of our coming and going, God of our past, our present, and our future, we have met, we have celebrated, we have remembered. We have visioned, shared hopes, and dreamed dreams, and now we go out into the world in which we do most of our living and our ministering. As we go out, remind us that we do not go alone. As we go out, remind us that we go with a mission. As we go out, fill us with love, hope, and peace to share with the world. May our lives and our ministry be signs of your love and promises and possibility for the world. AMEN