Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More Than Conquerors

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Ryan, our pastoral intern figuring things out
Romans 8:27-29 (NIV1984)
27 And he who searches our hearts
knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for the saints
in accordance with God’s will.
More Than Conquerors
28 And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose.
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
I am supposed to work up new logos, letterhead, welcome packet, flyers for the church. For weeks I have been trying to get some of the elements for the project from the guy that designed our awesome web page. It should be no problem but at every turn something seems to be blocked. The person who had my job before me was similarly stuck.  I could get all frustrated over this and I could fuss and fight to try and get what I need or I could step back and ask ok why is this blocked? It might be blocked because I am not the person God has in mind for this task. Hmmm. We have just had a new pastoral intern arrive on the scene. He has not even been here a week and he has designed his own very cool business card. He has also instantly hit it off with the web guy. So I was talking with my pastor about it yesterday and told him that I would not be offended if he decided to give that project to Ryan, the new intern. 
So I am telling you all this along with the verse above to say that I have learned that I can step back when something is blocked and ask why? I know right off the bat that God is for me. I know God has a plan - I just need to sort out how I fit into it.

There is a great story about a guy named Balaam. Hes the guy that is asked by one of Israels neighbors to curse them. He tells that king, I can only say what God tells me to say but he takes the job, only to end up frustrating the king because all God tells him are things that bless rather than curse Israel. There is a point on his way to go to the king that his donkey sees the angel of the Lord with a sword and won't go forward. Three times Balaam gets off and beats his poor donkey. Finally God allows the poor donkey to speak and shows Balam the angel. The story is in Numbers 22 if it is a new one to you. I was reading it yesterday and this is the verse that jumped out for me. 32 The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.” 
Sometimes God blocks our path because it is a reckless one. It is a path that will take us a direction that he does not want us to go. Any path that is not Gods intended path is a reckess one. In applying that to my own life. I look at my past dealings with our web guy. He's always busy but is super cooperative and does a great job. Its not like him to not get something done that has been requested of him. I want to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and so when something is blocked or stuck I need to stop and ask why? Sometime it is something that we just need to press through and over come other times God is saying wait - you are not the right person to do this particular task.  I have a fair amount of skill and experience in a lot of areas of church work but I have to be careful that I am not trying to do everything. As a leader my job is that of equipping others to use their gifts and callings. I may even be able to do a better more efficient job at something. King David certainly had the skill, and the resources to build the temple for God but God said no - your hands are too bloody.Your son will build it. 
My heart is always to be available and I echo Isaiah and say " Here am I Lord, send me" but the fact of the matter is that even if I am gifted and called in a particular area, and might be able to do a great job. It is still the Lord's to decide who He wants to do a particular task. 
So rather than beating your donkey when you find there to be something blocking your way forward. Stop and ask God to help you see why the way has been blocked. 
Thank you Lord that you are for us, that the Holy Spirit does search and know our hearts and knows the Fathers will and heart as well. Help us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in times of resistance. Help us to know if this is something to press through or if it is a path you have not called us to follow. I pray you would fine tune us and cause our sensitivity to your Holy Spirit to be greater. Help us to have a better understanding of your will. Help us to better understand how we fit in and what our part to play is, so that we won't keep someone else from playing their intended part.  

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