Concept & photograph by Tony Crisp. Graphic Design by Jim Whalen
In my church last week, the congregation tearfully said good-bye to two friends who had been dedicated and committed servants in our church. So as we said good bye to our faithful servants, it made me think about a recent sermon (http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/CityOnaHill/podcasts/512-sermon–if-god-says-its-okay-its-okay-1100.html) I heard, and I wondered; what will be the next thing in our departing friends’ lives.
Are you ready to answer that question for yourself? We traditionally said that God is going to do a new thing, but I am here to tell you that God is ready to do the next thing in your lives.
What is the next thing that God has for you? Oh, by the way, it may be new to you; but to God it is the next thing. So what’s the next thing for you?
- To start that business you have dreamed about
- To write that book or to start that special blog
- To start that new job in a far away place
- To be that special friend to someone who needs a confidant or to the one who is grieving
- To take on a leadership role in your job, your neighborhood or your faith community, or
- To move aside so someone new can lead in a new way, or
- To take time for a little respite to rejuvenate and wait on for your new assignment.
If you still unsure just be patient, be confident in God’s timing. God will let you know; for “who knows whether you have come to your position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Yes, this may be your time, to do the unthinkable, to do the next thing God has ordained for you. So slow down; take a deep breath and get ready for the next thing.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give… will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give… will become… a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 NIV
Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really thirsty. You drink and drink from the well of life, but you are still dehydrated; you are still dry as dust. You say to yourself: “Why can’t I feel full, feel satisfied.” And then you pray:
God, I thirst for success, for completion, for accomplishments, for a job well done—but in my heart, I know I am not there yet. Help.
God, I thirst for a mission that can really make a difference in people’s lives. I thirst to be like you Jesus, yet I sadly go away because my behavior fills me with doubts and shame. How can I ever expect to be like you? Help.
I thirst for peace, for no confrontations, for no worries or anxieties. O God, I thirst for extended rest and relaxation. I thirst for that special rest; that eternal rest that only you can provide; that peace beyond understanding.
Yes, God, I seek that spiritual rest; that rest that only you can provide. I am looking for that ever lasting water that Jesus promises.
Jesus, please give me water from the well; so I too, like the woman at the well, will never have that empty feeling, that “spiritual drought” again. Amen.
I will praise the Lord with my whole heart. God you are so great and wonderful. It is no wonder that I praise you. You help my limited vision of possibilities and give me the big picture of something better. You give me hope, you strengthen my faith, you answer my prayers and you always give me your best. But God, I am not finished yet.
God, I want the world to know that it is good to praise you; and that through faith we can praise and trust you even through your silence and through our doubts.
You see God; I have no choice, but to praise you. You are my help, my strength and my comfort. You promised to be my shepherd that I shall not want; but more, importantly God; you promised to be with me to the end of my time. It is because of your promises that I have learned to praise you in good times and bad times. And I pray God, when my life is over all will know I praised you from the womb to the grave.
So let the people praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. Psalm 150:1-6; NIV.
Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised to David. Isaiah 55:3-4 NLT
God, I have forgotten how to pray. Oh yes, I bow my head and say a few words; but God the intensity of the prayer is not there; the connection to you is not there; my yearning to wait and listen is missing. I have not the time to meditate; to wait and listen; to hear that inner voice.
God, teach me how to pray; help me to understand the importance of prayer. God, teach me to hear with discernment and how to be genuine with my requests.
I pray that my requests to you will not be in vain. I pray that my asking will be worthy of your ears, your blessings and my realities.
God, teach me to hear you and to be faithful to what you are calling me to do and to be.
God, I pray today for….
How often have you prayed to God and you hear nothing, feel nothing? Well, you are not alone. You have company throughout history. Mother Teresa confessed this in her journal, but she continued to do God’s work. Read the Psalms and see how often King David mourned for God’s presence. Yet, David was a man after God’s own heart.
So I say to you today don’t be discouraged. God loves you and I believe even during the silence, God hears you. So be faithful, don’t forget God’s promises and continue to do the things that God has called you to do. Amen