On February 14th 2015, The Impact Singles Ministry will host the Los Angeles Singles Devotional called Take Back Dating at the Avalon Pomona Fairplex. It will be a great time of fellowship as the singles continue to strive to have healthy relationships with the opposite sex in a way that honors God. The speakers are Jack and Nancy Jensen, authors of the book “Take Back Dating.” They will share how the singles and campus ministry at their home church, Five Valleys Church of Christ in Missoula, Montana have dedicated themselves to creating a healthy dating culture within the church that is encouraging, uplifting and FUN. We are excited to be hosting this great event that can empower the singles ministry to glorify and honor God as we honor each other by having great relationships. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
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“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”- (Gen. 2:15).
Imagine for a moment that Jesus has just completed his three years of training with the disciples. He has been crucified and is now commissioning the twelve to go into the world and disciple the nations. Now imagine him also making this statement to them.
“Dear brothers, it is now time for you to share what you have learned from me. However, as you share with others be sure that you keep what I taught you separate from your work life. The principles I have shared with you only apply in situations outside your work life. Do not make them fit into this context. The miracles you saw in me can only be done in certain situations outside work life. Keep this in mind when thinking about praying for the sick or the lost. These truths will not work in the marketplace.”
Sound preposterous? It may, but this is the mindset of many in our world today. The spiritual does not mix with the everyday world of the workplace. “What happens on Monday has no relationship to what takes place on Sunday,” they say.
These are the thoughts expressed so much in our day and time, although they are not expressed in such direct terms. Let’s think more about this idea. When Jesus came to earth, how did He come? He came as a carpenter. He was a man given to work with his hands and to provide an honest service to his fellow man. He did not come as a priest, although He was both a King and a Priest (Rev. 1:6 KJV). When it came time to recruit those for whom the Church would be founded, He chose twelve men from the workplace – a fisherman, a tax collector, a doctor, and so on.
They all came from the workplace. None of his disciples were priests from the synagogue, a natural place to recruit from if you were going to start a religious movement. Jesus called them all from the marketplace of life. Was this any accident that Jesus called men and women from the marketplace to play such a vital role in His mission? I think not.
Today, embrace your work life as a holy calling
“You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.” (Psalm 139: 15). (Msg)
If you are going to discover how God wants to use your life and work, you must know why you were created. If you start trying to determine your purpose in life before understanding why you were created, you will inevitably get hung up on the things you do as the basis for fulfillment in your life, which will only lead to frustration and disappointment.
First and foremost, God created you to know Him and to have an intimate relationship with Him. In fact, God says that if a man is going to boast about anything in life, “boast about this: that he understands and knows me” (Jer. 9:24). Mankind’s relationship with God was lost in the Garden when Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus’ death on the cross, however, allows us to restore this relationship with God and to have an intimate fellowship with Him. The apostle Paul came to understand this when he said, “I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself” (Phil. 3:10, THE MESSAGE).
Establishing this relationship with God is vital to understanding your purpose. If you don’t have this relationship with God, you will seek to fulfill your purpose out of wrong motives; such as fear, insecurity, pride, money, relationships, guilt, or unresolved anger. God’s desire is for you to be motivated out of love for Him and to desire to worship Him in all that you do. As you develop your relationship with God, He will begin to reveal His purpose for your life. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord” (Jer. 29:11).
Today, ask God to help you discover your unique purpose.
For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him (Eccl 8:6).
How we use our time is a good indicator of the god we choose to serve. There is a god whose name is “the urgent” that can rule our lives if we are not diligent. The wrong use of time can lead to misery. The right use of time can result in fulfillment.
“You need to take time to turn to God. Do not pray only when you have set aside time to do. The busier you are, the more you must practice turning to God. If you wait until the time is convenient, there is little doubt that you will end up spending little time with God. Try to come before God both in the morning and the evening. Pray during and between all your other jobs as much as you can. You cannot retire too much from the mindless chatter of the world. Learn to steal this time in little snatches, and you will find these moments the most precious part of your day” said Francois de Fenelon, a sixteenth century Christian leader.*
The amount of time we spend with anyone or any activity is a good indicator of the value we place on that person or activity. Time equates to money for some. For others it can be a cruel dictator. It is the physical evidence of what is at the center of our lives.
People can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the lack of available time, but the will to set a priority for the time they have. Time can be the evidence that convicts our soul that our devotion has waned.
What does the evidence of time tell you about yourself? Today, give God the time needed to develop a relationship that is meaningful for both of you.
*Francois de Fenelon 100 Days in the Secret Place, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, PA p. 117 2001
I firmly believe he can use me despite my flaws, weaknesses and challenges. God says in 2 Cor 12:9 that his power is made perfect in weakness, so I can take great confidence in the fact that God chose me and you out of the whole earth, to have a relationship with Him and to impact others. That is the power that has overcome the world.
Is God enough for you?
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before”(Job 42:10).
Have you ever been wrongly judged? Have you ever had people assume there was sin in your life because of the troubles you may have experienced? Or perhaps they judged your motives as wrong. What if the people judging you were your closest friends?
This was exactly what happened in the life of Job. His friends did not understand how a godly person could ever go through his degree of adversity his unless God was judging him for his sin. However, his friends were wrong and God intervened. “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has,” said God to Job’s three friends.
Nothing has really changed after thousands of years. I recall going through a seven year “Job” experience. Friends in the marketplace could not understand why I would experience such calamity unless I had made poor choices. Those in the Church often wrongly equated trouble with sin. Sometimes this can be true, but often trouble is simply a consequence of a call on one’s life such as Joseph and the apostle Paul experienced.
Joseph was required to forgive his brothers. Jesus was required to forgive Judas and the disciples for betrayal. You and I are required to forgive those who wrongfully judge us.
This forgiveness is often THE most important step in gaining restoration in our own lives. The scripture above reveals that it was not until Job prayed for his friends that he was restored in the things he had lost.
Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? It may be the missing piece of your puzzle for restoration.
“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Ps 13:1-2).
Have you ever heard someone jokingly say, “It’s not easy being me?” This expression is poking fun at their unique personality or challenges they face in life. Well, it wasn’t easy being King David.
His life was a life of extreme highs and extreme lows. He was a shepherd, a political leader, a builder, a prophet, a businessman, a warrior, a lover, a giver, a murderer and a worshiper. He must have been criticized by others as being hypocritical in his early career. In each of these roles he achieved things for God but he also failed God on many occasions. He had a creative-type personality, which is often very passionate with many mood swings. We see this side of him when he unabashedly danced before the Lord in front of his subjects almost naked (2 Sam 6:14).
When David wrote his psalms he was honest about what he was feeling. When he feared his enemies he expressed it. When he could not understand why God was silent, he expressed it as in the psalm above.
However, David never stayed in the place of despair. He often ended his psalms like this one. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me” (Ps 13:5-6).
David chooses to focus on what God has done for him, not what He has not done. If you are waiting for a breakthrough with God, be honest with Him about your hopes and dreams. However, also affirm your faith and trust in Him to accomplish His purposes through your life. Be an overcomer.