Serving God's Purpose in my Fleeting Days...

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep...Acts 13:36a

A few years ago, my husband had what I call "a heart episode" -- not a heart attack, praise God, but an issue with his heart rhythms that sent him to the emergency room.  Since John had had a "widow maker" heart attack several years before, the docs decided to keep him in the hospital and run some tests.

I kissed John good-by that night and went home.  I had perfect peace that John was in good hands...and most of all, the Great Hands of our Healer God!  Exhausted by the long day, I hastily sent out an email to some of our "prayer peeps," asking for prayer for John and signing it with Acts 13:36a.  The Lord had just reminded me of this verse a week or two before as I was sharing with a small Bible study group.  My friend Jenna, who had been a part of that group, jokingly responded to my email, "Are you sure you want Acts 13:36?  Are we praying that John live or die (fall asleep)?"

For those of you who may also be a bit confused as to why I would share Acts 13 in a prayer request for John's health, let me give a little background:

My fascination with this truth began several years before.  My husband John was leading us through the book of Acts in our kinship group.  Maps went up on the screen, the journeys of Paul were clarified, even drawings and photos of archaeological dig sites were explained and imagined!  I don't remember much to tell you the truth.   But I do remember the above verse.  It really hit me like a ton of bricks...and as I've meditated on it and mulled over it for days and weeks and months and even years, it has brought me tremendous encouragement and peace.  Why, you may ask?

Well, as an answer to that question, here's my PS to my praise report sent to our praying friends the following week:

For those of you who may have been confused as to my verse -- it's a great comfort to me that our life on earth will not end until God has fulfilled His purpose through each of us in our generation!  Amen to Acts 13:36A!

And isn't that what life is all about for us children of God...to so let Him live and love and serve through us that His great purpose in His Son, from before time began, will be worked out in and through our human lives on this earth.  What an awesome privilege and hope!  We are part of something bigger than us!

There's a song that I discovered last year that makes me think of my Acts 13 verse.  It wasn't long after hearing for the first time this haunting melody (Johann Sebastian Bach's melody "Wachet Auf" played on folk instruments) and the accompanying song, that I started playing it in my car on my way to work each day.

It moves me to think that the Lord Christ uses the work I do each day to accomplish His purpose -- to glorify Himself and build His kingdom.

That's because He lives His life through me His child, His disciple, His instrument.

I particularly love one of the lines:

May we...Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days...

It reminds me of my verse.  I love to take David's name out and put my name in:

Jan, when she has served the purpose of God in her generation, will fall asleep...into the Arms of Abba Father God!

And perhaps you would like to fill in the blank with your name...

________________, when he/she has served the purpose of God in his/her generation, will fall asleep...into the Arms of Abba Father God!

...and then join me in this prayer:

Oh Father, may I serve your purpose in my own generation!

Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker
To offer the work of my hands.
For this is the day You’ve given You’re servant;
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe;
For each skill Your grace has given me;
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify You great Name.

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands.
For patience and peace to shape all my labor,
Your grace for thorns in my path.
Flow within me like a living stream,
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
‘till Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown.

Before You we kneel, Our Master and Maker;
Establish the work of our hands.
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task.
May we live the gospel of Your grace,
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your Name.

Before You I Kneel (A Worker's Prayer), Keith & Kristyn Getty

A simple morning prayer and praise for all who work...all of us!

a new day
a new day

Today, O gracious Lord,live through me,love through me, __________ [mother/father, teach, be a neighbor, reach out, do my job,...] through me! For your honor and glory! Amen.

Before You I kneel, my Master and MakerTo offer the work of my hands.For this is the day You’ve given You’re servant;I will rejoice and be gladFor the strength I have to live and breathe;For each skill Your grace has given me;For the needs and opportunitiesThat will glorify You great Name.

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodnessTo cover the work of my hands.For patience and peace to shape all my labor,Your grace for thorns in my path.Flow within me like a living stream,Wear away the stones of pride and greed‘till Your ways are dwelling deep in meAnd a harvest of life is grown.

Before You we kneel, Our Master and Maker;Establish the work of our hands.And order our steps to seek first Your kingdomIn every small and great task.May we live the gospel of Your grace,Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,Then our lives will bring eternal praiseAnd all glory to Your Name.

Before You I Kneel (A Worker's Prayer), Keith & Kristyn Getty


hour glass, sands
hour glass, sands

Ordained...for the purpose and pleasure of God!

Sunday I witnessed a moving ceremony, the ordination to ministry of a "native son" of our church.  Not only was he born in the church, but he also came to the Lord, was  baptized, grew up, and then was sent out as a missionary.  In the ceremony, there was the recognition of God's calling and gifting of this young man with the laying on of hands and prayer by the elders of the church.  So as you can imagine, it was a day of great celebration, not only for him personally, but also for his family, friends, and congregation. Since then, I've been thinking about ordination.  What exactly is it, and what does it entail.  I found an interesting article on-line.  Here is part of it:

The modern definition of ordination is “the investiture of clergy” or “the act of granting pastoral authority or sacerdotal power.” Usually, we think of an ordination service as a ceremony in which someone is commissioned or appointed to a position within the church. Often, the ceremony involves the laying on of hands...

However, the biblical definition is a little different. The word ordain in the Bible refers to a setting in place or designation; for example, Joseph was “ordained” as a ruler in Egypt (Acts 7:10); the steward in Jesus’ parable was “ordained” to oversee a household (Matthew 24:45); deacons were “ordained” to serve the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1-6); and pastors were “ordained” in each city in Crete (Titus 1:5). In none of these cases is the mode of ordination specified, nor is any ceremony detailed; the “ordinations” are simply appointments. GotQuestions.org

So that begs the question:  Aren't all believers appointed by God, set in place by Him, and gifted by the Holy Spirit for service? Paul says,

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV

Now this is not to minimize the call to full-time, vocational  ministry or downplay it one bit.  It is an awesome thing!  But if we look at Scripture, we see very clearly that each of us fulfills a unique role in God's purpose and pleasure in the world.  Look at Romans 12:4-6; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:4-16; and my personal favorite:

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies— in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV

I remember hearing of a church that ordained its people for the specific occupation [a.k.a. "ministry"] to which God called each of them.  I don't remember the details, but I can imagine that teachers were ordained to go into their classrooms and bring the light and life of Christ there.  And then the same for engineers, hairdressers, plumbers, seamstresses, nurses and doctors,  police and firefighters, construction workers, landscapers, assembly line workers, janitors, cafeteria personnel, clerks, truck drivers,  __________, __________, _____________ etc.?  And how about the hardest and most important calling of all, MOMS & DADS!

Coming to grips with this truth may change the way you view your daily duties. You are "serving the purpose of God in your generation" (Acts 13:36).  It may also change the way you pray each day, as it did for me.

Why not join me in this daily prayer of surrender to the indwelling Christ:

Today, O gracious Lord, live through me, love through me, __________ through me!  For your honor and glory! Amen.

 

Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker To offer the work of my hands. For this is the day You’ve given You’re servant; I will rejoice and be glad For the strength I have to live and breathe; For each skill Your grace has given me; For the needs and opportunities That will glorify You great Name.

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness To cover the work of my hands. For patience and peace to shape all my labor, Your grace for thorns in my path. Flow within me like a living stream, Wear away the stones of pride and greed ‘till Your ways are dwelling deep in me And a harvest of life is grown.

Before You we kneel, Our Master and Maker; Establish the work of our hands. And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom In every small and great task. May we live the gospel of Your grace, Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days, Then our lives will bring eternal praise And all glory to Your Name.

Before You I Kneel (A Worker's Prayer), Keith & Kristyn Getty

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPVtx_HCpOo[/youtube]

 

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