TTHE PERHAPS PARADOX

Culled from the SUN STAND STILL Devotional by Steven Furtick

1Samuel 14:1-14

In today’’s reading the army of King Saul has been locked in a standoff against the Philistines. And Jonathan, the king’’s son, has become so aggravated with the inaction of his fellow warriors that he decides to make a bold move. He enlists his armor bearer to join him on a two-man commando raid.

His battle plan is potentially God inspired— – and a little ludicrous. The two young men will openly approach the enemy outpost. If they get a go-ahead sign from God, they will attack. A borderline suicide mission. But if God is with them, Jonathan figures, nothing can stop them.

In his motivational speech to his bodyguard, Jonathan seems to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth: •

– Nothing can hinder the Lord.

– Perhaps the Lord will act.

At first glance this seems like spiritual schizophrenia.

But perhaps Jonathan isn’’t schizophrenic. Perhaps true faith always feels this way. On the one hand, I know that God is able to do anything. On the other hand, I think He’’s willing to do this specific thing. I know God can. And I’’m pretty sure He will. But I can’’t be completely sure.

That’’s where audacious faith comes in.

Audacity isn’’t the absence of uncertainty and ambiguity. Audacity is believing that God’s promise is bigger than my perhaps.

The Bible says that God’’s Word is a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105), not a floodlight beaming to our destination. So, armed with the confidence that there’’s a decent chance and an interesting possibility that my impulse might be from God (perhaps, in other words), I start investigating.

We’’d all like to live in a world where God lets us do big things that require minimal risk. Where the voice of the Holy Spirit carries for miles and miles, piercing through static and fuzz, jeers and taunts. The fact is, though, that the land where the sun stands still is a land where promise and perhaps must coexist. Audacious faith does not eliminate doubt and fear. It eclipses their power one decision at a time. You know God’’s will by doing God’’s will.

Jonathan and his armor bearer ended up saving the day in a spectacular way. Their act of audacious faith tilted the fate of an entire nation.

Act on your “perhaps”, and see what God will do in your world.

SEIZE THE VISION – DAY 3

From the SUN STAND STILL DEVOTIONAL BY STEVEN FURTICK

Most nights I slip into my boys’ rooms after they’’re asleep, just barely place my right hand on their heads, and whisper: “God, raise up my sons to be the greatest men of God of their generation.” I tell them that I’’m praying this for their lives when they’’re awake too. Of course they don’’t understand many of the implications of this. But one day they will. I’’m just trying to stock their hearts with raw material that God can use to build a vision within my boys when they’’re older.

The point I’’m trying to make has very little to do with me and my boys. It has everything to do with you and your vision: If you want to see God do something impossible in your life, you have to open your heart and mind to God’’s vision for your life. You have to seize it.

Joshua has been a faithful second in command for many years. But talk about having a tough act to follow. For the Hebrews, Moses was a legend in his own time – —the president, chief justice, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs all rolled up in one. But now he is dead, and Joshua is next in line.

Joshua’’s term of office is starting at a perilous moment in the nation’s history. The people are about to try to take Canaan from several people groups who aren’’t exactly eager to vacate the premises and hand it over.

The vision isn’’t in question: occupy the Promised Land. But before that can happen, Joshua has to seize the vision. And judging by the number of times, “”Be strong and courageous”” shows up in Joshua 1, apparently God knows this leader is scared of failing.

God steps in with encouragement. Just as God was with Moses, so He will be with Joshua. God promises, “”I will never leave you nor forsake you.”” (Interesting how He says the same thing to us [Hebrews 13:5, NKJV].)

Joshua seizes the vision. We know this because practically within moments he is issuing orders to get the campaign under way (Joshua 1:10–-15).

If you’’ve received a vision from God, you need to seize it too. Don’’t waver or put it off. Stop trying to have all the answers before launching out in faith.

All God needs is all you’’ve got. Give it to Him —today.

IGNITE THE ORDINARY – DAY 2

From the SUN STANS STILL DEVOTIONAL BY STEVEN FURTICK

When you strip the biblical miracles of their spectacular special effects, a common plot point emerges: extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience.

Consider Moses’’s first encounter with God.

Moses is tending the family sheep out in the nondescript countryside.

He happens to notice a bush that’’s caught fire. He walks over to take a look……

Up to this point, it’’s not exactly a riveting scene, is it?

In reality, the illustrious burning-bush encounter that seemed so captivating in Sunday school is… really…quite…ordinary. Moses is performing menial manual labor, working for his father-in-law. It’’s dusty. The sheep stink. Does it get any more mundane?

Almost all encounters with God begin that way. You may be living under the illusion that when God ignites great things in your life, He’’ll announce it with a big bang. He might. It’’s more likely that He won’’t. So stop waiting around for the big bang. Pay attention to the subtle clues and the still, small voice. Maybe you’’ll hear it this very day.

What we call a miracle is really just the right combination of your ordinary ingredients and God’’s extraordinary expertise. When God’’s super collides with your natural, sparks will fly.

God may call you to serve as an unknown youth pastor of fifteen kids in a moldy basement for a youth room and with an Atari for entertainment. Ordinary. But He may also be providing you an opportunity to pour your life into one of those teenagers who will go on to preach the gospel in a thousand places you’’ll never go.

Extraordinary.

God may lead you to stay at home with your young children, forfeiting a second income. Ordinary. But along with diapers, dishes, and naps, you receive the gift of time – —to model discipline, instill values, and speak life into your kids. They could grow up to be Joshua’s in their own generation. Extraordinary.

If God is calling you to make a big difference today, He is likely to start in a small way – —a bush that only you will notice. Will you remove your shoes, draw close, and receive your assignment? Will you give the Lord permission to ignite your ordinary? If you will, before long your faith will start carrying you to a higher level than you ever thought you could reach.

LOVE IS SIGHT

““The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said, “Master, why is it that you are about to make yourself plain to us but not to the world?” “Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, “is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him—we’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:21-24‬ ‭MSG‬‬

When we have the love of God ruling and reigning in our hearts, He will reveal and make manifest a Himself to us, with that illumination, we can see EVERYTHING! LOVE IS SIGHT! A LOBELESS WORL IS A SIGHTLESS WORLD!

MORE OF JESUS LESS OF ME

Culled from 30 devotions for youth leaders

Two full tables of guests never looked at me.

I stood behind the lectern and addressed an audience in Frederick, Maryland – only to discover that a significant number of those in attendance paid no attention to me. Their eyes were locked on Jennifer.

Jennifer was a competent and enthusiastic interpreter. Her language? Sign language.

Youth for Christ in Central Maryland leads a vibrant, impactful ministry at the Maryland Deaf School, and many of our advocates, friends and supporters attended the annual fundraising banquet to show their support.

My words found a home in Jennifer’s hands, whose job it was to convert my verbalization into motion. Even as I referenced members of the deaf contingent, their eyes never looked my way—they remained fixed and focused—on Jennifer.

It unnerved me at first, but over the course of 30 minutes I found it to be beautiful and appropriate. My text was John 14:6: Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The experience became a lesson, not for the audience, but for me. My message, rightly and humbly communicated, should push the gaze of those I lead, of those I serve, of those I communicate with, off of me.

Is it possible that even as I communicate the message of Jesus, I am “pleased” that the eyes of the crowd are on me? This reality convicts me, as it rightly should.

The words of John 14:6 reverberated through Jennifer’s hands. Her silent competence pounded the reality of my calling deep into my soul.

My effectiveness should be measured by where the eyes of those who follow me gaze. At me or at Jesus? Is it my compelling delivery that draws them or the unconstrained message of the Gospel? Would I be content if the people in the room never saw me?

I was in the classroom, even as I stood at the front of the room. Through the silence – I heard my Master. Only Jesus. Always Jesus. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.

More of Jesus – and yes, less of me.

YOU ARE VALUABLE

“Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:4-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

You are special to God, it doesn’t matter how you feel, what people have told you, the unequivocal truth is that YOU ARE VALUABLE TO GOD! YOU ARE SPECIAL IN HIS EYES! GOD LOVES AND CHERISHES YOU!