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PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
Sep
01

Beginning Again... Again

Jon Burgess

Scripture

‘Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord..." Ezekiel‬ ‭16:43‬

Observation

Today's Life Journal reading is not easy to take. God was reminding His people of how how vulnerable and helpless they were once and how He found them, held them, covered and provided for them. Like a Father with his daughter looking at pictures from birth through graduation God was calling them back to where they started. They did not listen. They walked brazenly into sin and confidently into rebellion against their God. Though He brings judgement He continues to remind them to come home, to start over, to begin again... again. "Then when I have brought you home to the land I promised your ancestors, you will know that I am the Lord." Ez. 20:42 God's call to come home is a call to come back to where it all began between us and Him. It's a call to begin again... again.

Application

Everyone is a beginner before the Throne of God. It's time to begin again... again. To return to the place of the child before the father, the student before the teacher, the sinner before the throne of grace. If I refuse to come as a child then I will inevitably wind up like Israel had. When I forget what Christ has done I fail to see to see what Christ is doing. When I stop learning I stop leading because I've stopped following the One who rescued me. When I stand in a place of pride I fall in that very place. I no longer have compassion for the broken or needy around me when I forget how broken and needy I was... and still am. I was a beginner in the Philippines. I sat at the feet of Miriam the Project Director for one of the Compassion Sponsor Schools in the outskirts of Manila. She shared how she had lived in this squalor with barley enough to eat. She wondered why a God who loved her would allow this. Then she began to look at her past again and God showed her that she would be able to show His love better then most because she had been where they are! Now Miriam is an unstoppable force of hope in the midst of abject poverty. I sat as a student at the feet of Susan who once ran the largest Bank in the Philippines. She saw the need and began all over again... again and quit her high profile job. Now she is the Director of the largest Compassion project in the Philippines with over 900 sponsored children coming to the Capital City Foursquare campus affecting thousands of family members connected to them. She taught me that as Christians we don't wait for an invitation but instead are the initiation of relationship. We don't wait for them to come to us. We go to them. If they are washing clothes on the streets, we stop and wash clothes with them and build relationship. I sat at the feet of one of the graduates from the Compassion program. Her name is Micah and she grew up as the daughter of poor Christian pastors. She was sponsored by a Compassion family but went her own way as a teenager. One night she was drugged and raped by two teen boys. A few months after this attack her Dad committed adultery with one woman and then another and now her parents are divorced. She was angry at God for a long time. Then God brought her to a place of healing. She began again and realized that by forgiving those boys she could be free to help other girls who had experienced the same. She received forgiveness because she gave forgiveness and would now be a product of grace rather then poverty, rape, divorce, or bitterness. Now she is going to attend law school to help other girls affected by rape. This 22 year old woman rocked me as she closed her testimony out by saying. "I just have an average I.Q. I have so many excuses to not even try to enter law school. But when God tells you to do something there is no excuse that can stand. I must obey." So, Micah will begin again... again. And so will I.

Prayer

Thank You Lord for Miriam, Susan, and Micah. These amazing women along with so many other Compassion International leaders and volunteers who are laying down their lives in the Philippines to reach those everyone else passes by. Let me stay broken. Let me remain bothered by what I've seen. Let me stay stirred. Keep me as child before You. I thought I knew a few things about compassion and this week has taught me I've barely scratched the surface. Let my heart not grow hard, cold, indifferent or distant from you. I come as a beginner before Your throne of grace. Let me begin again... again.


Devotions for September 01

Ezekiel 15,16
Psalms 70
Revelation 6

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