Daily Devotionals

Establish the Work of Our Hands!

Moses ends Psalm 90 with the prayer “establish the work of our hands!” I’ve prayed similarly for years. “God give us the wisdom to know how we are to move with you, the courage to move and the humility to give you the credit for the work that is accomplished. Only let the work be accomplished!”

I say often if we step back 25 years from now and the Church has made no impact on our area, if our culture is the same or worse, we have failed. I mean this now more than ever. I am blown away by the generosity and compassion found in Southwest AR. But more than generosity and compassion is required if we are going to move our culture toward Christ. I love the business ingenuity and drive that is found in our area. We have a lot of passionate business leaders, but more than a sharp business acumen is required if we are to advance. I love our schools. Let me say that again, I LOVE OUR SCHOOLS! We have some of the best teachers and administrators around! But if we are going to see forward motion in our region, we will need more than strong schools. You know where I’m going with this. The strong, faithful, forward moving/thinking Church must be a key player if culture change is our goal. I pray often for God to move mightily through the hearts and minds of SW AR Churches.

I’ve been reading the book of Joel a lot lately. This small but mighty book has a lot to say about culture change. When I talk about culture, I’m thinking about all the conversations, decisions and attitudes surrounding our population. I’m thinking about what motivates our people to act, the filters they use to decide how they will dress and what they believe. I’m thinking about how they discipline their kids and what they decide is good and bad to eat. I’m looking at the makeup of the whole enchilada that we call South Arkansas.

I don’t know if you realize it or not, but many of the decisions we make on a daily basis are decided for us before we ever get out of bed. Few of us make our clothes. That means someone, somewhere else decides what is in style and what is not. Few of us grow the majority of our own food. That means someone else decides what is healthy and what is not. (Don’t split hairs with me. You get the picture.) The enchilada grows quite large when we start to move toward things like beliefs and language. Suddenly it’s ok to sell marijuana in Arkansas because someone magically deemed it healthy. The majority of people in our state believe in God, but it is a god of their own choosing, not the God of the Bible. I don’t write these things to stir the pot. I write this to paint Joel’s picture of a plague of locusts that swept the landscape and completely changed it. Life as they knew it was no more.

Joel does not give up, though! He calls on the people of God to repent and return to the Lord. He tells them to “tear their hearts, not their clothes,” to approach the Lord broken over their sin and humbly ask Him to restore them. Joel’s words are not for the random listener. He doesn’t speak to any other entity than the people of God. To the leaders he says “weep and say “Spare your people, O Lord…” Why should the other nations look at us and say “Where is their God?”” The prophet tells us that the Lord heard and answered their heartfelt cries for restoration. He promises to bring back all the locusts destroyed and more. But even greater than that promise, God tells them in the future He will pour out His Spirit on all people. He answers more than their stomachs. God addresses the cries of their hearts. With the advent of His Spirit, His people would be able to experience Him on a daily basis. They could have a relationship with Him and not need the priest to mediate their prayers and offerings. This offer of restoration was by far the best of all.

Do you believe this offer still stands? That by God’s Spirit we can enjoy all the benefits we were created for? Do you believe the Church can actually be the key player in the culture war? That by God’s Spirit we can offer to the world around us all of the things money can’t buy, schools can’t teach and police can’t enforce? Things like homes can be restored. (I know this well.) But they will rot again. (I know this, too!) But the restoration we are talking about is something that carries on into eternity. Do you long for God to establish the work of your hands, like I and many others around our world pray for daily? Join in the prayer this Christmas. Ask God to reveal Himself in fresh, new ways to seekers all over the globe. Ask Him to revitalize the old, broken methods that filter our thinking and beliefs. Ask Him to wake up the hearts that have grown sluggish due to the drone of the world. Ask Him to open blind eyes and unstop deaf ears that are closed out of fear or frustration. Just know that as you pray, God’s #1 plan for answering is the Church. He WILL ask you to step up to the plate and weep, cry out and replant. He will assuredly ask and expect you to speak, listen to and live His story. I long for this. I wait for this. I pray for this. “Lord, establish the work of our hands!”

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