Has Quarantine Stolen Your Purpose?

I had big plans for my high school years. I was going to lead Bible studies and disciple younger girls and volunteer and get involved in local ministry. I was determined to use those years of flexibility and energy well for God’s glory. I was going to do hard things.

Well, God had other plans. I spent the majority of my high school years bedridden and housebound. I got sick—really sick—and I wasn’t able to do anything the way I had pictured it.

And I struggled. What was my purpose? I had plans for how I wanted to make an impact on the world and how I wanted to serve God, but those things were taken away from me. What was the point of laying in bed day after day? How was that helping anybody or serving God?

WHAT TO DO WHEN THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO

You may not have a chronic illness like me, but COVID-19 has forced many of us to be housebound. All of your dreams and plans and ways you were serving God are most likely canceled. And that can be so frustrating. Do you, like I did, wonder what your purpose is during this time? It feels like we’ve lost our ability to make a difference in the world, and we feel hopeless.

Well, I want to share something I learned the hard way while I was bedridden. Our purpose does not rest in what we can do. I know, it sounds cliché. But I wish I could look you in the eyes and speak this directly to you. Your purpose is simply to glorify God and delight in Him.

Guess what? You can do that housebound. You can still make an incredible impact while quarantined from everyone you usually try to serve. I had to learn that even if all I could do was pray, that was enough. In fact, that was more than just ‘enough’, it was making a difference. I had to learn that, if all I could do was work up the energy to smile and say “thank you” when my mum helped me eat and carried me to the bathroom since I was too weak to move, that was still glorifying God.

Sometimes the hardest thing you can do is not do things.

PURPOSE WHEREVER WE ARE

There’s a guy in the Bible who got this. Paul was under house arrest for several years, and he spent a lot of time in prison. He went from traveling the world proclaiming the Gospel to hundreds of people at a time to being stuck, unable to serve in that way.

So you know what he did? Four things. He prayed. He worshipped. He wrote letters. And he preached the Gospel to the people stuck guarding him.

Our purpose does not rest in what we can do

Why can’t we do the same things? We can fight for the people God has called us to serve in prayer. We can spend time worshipping and taking this opportunity to refocus our hearts on God. We can write emails, texts, and letters to encourage people and help them as many battle loneliness and worry. And we can invest in our relationships with the people under ‘house arrest’ with us—our families.

All of those things make a huge difference. Maybe we can’t be involved in the hard things we usually are but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our purpose. Our purpose is to be found in God, nothing and no one else.

I know that easy to say and I know it’s easy to feel frustrated and discouraged. I’m right there with you. I’m struggling to figure out how to love and serve others and I miss getting to have fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I was excited to pursue ministry things God was calling me to. But now it’s changed, and I’m scrambling to figure out how to best use this time to serve God.

I’m feeling lost, confused, and like I’m not serving God to the best of my ability. However, quarantine doesn’t mean you have to give up on the ministry and hard things you were already doing. There are so many ways we can still invest in the same people through technology.

But we must remember that our purpose isn’t in doing those things. Whether we get to keep doing those things or not, we can still glorify and serve God.

Even when quarantined.

_____

Used by permissiontherebelution.com

Speaking Rightly

‘The word is near you.’ Romans 10:8 NIV

If you’re not careful, it’s easy to speak words of doubt that contradict what God says in His Word. Paul writes of the word that saves, ‘“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim.’ So, speak God’s Word over your situation and watch Him go to work on your behalf, setting things right for you.

The word ‘confession’ is related to the Greek word homologia, which means ‘to come into agreement with’ or ‘say the same thing’. That means you must come into agreement with God’s Word and learn to say what He says, no matter how bad things look at the time. If it’s not what God is saying, it’s counterproductive. But if it is, your words become powerful weapons.

The Bible says, ‘How forcible are right words!’ (Job 6:25 KJV) This word ‘forcible’ comes from the Hebrew word marats which means ‘to press’. Just like a king’s signet ring pressed his seal of authority onto a document, your confession of faith seals the matter before God. Jesus said: ‘Assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore… whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ (Mark 11:23–24 NKJV)

Don’t just speak to God about your mountain—speak to your mountain using God’s Word! When you make God’s Word your word, your mountain will begin to move.

SoulFood: 2 Sam 14:21–17:13, John 4:27–38, Ps 87, Pro 24:1–4

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

2 Samuel 14:21–17:13 ()

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21 Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22 And Joab fell on his face to the ground and paid homage and blessed the king. And Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant.” 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, “Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Absalom lived apart in his own house and did not come into the king’s presence.

25 Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king’s weight. 27 There were born to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.

28 So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king’s presence. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Joab would not come. 30 Then he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Joab arose and went to Absalom at his house and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32 Absalom answered Joab, “Behold, I sent word to you, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to ask, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.” Now therefore let me go into the presence of the king, and if there is guilt in me, let him put me to death.’” 33 Then Joab went to the king and told him, and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.

15:1 After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron. For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the LORD will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the LORD.’” The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’” 11 With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing. 12 And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.

13 And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” 14 Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 And the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king decides.” 16 So the king went out, and all his household after him. And the king left ten concubines to keep the house. 17 And the king went out, and all the people after him. And they halted at the last house.

18 And all his servants passed by him, and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the six hundred Gittites who had followed him from Gath, passed on before the king. 19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home. 20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go I know not where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the LORD show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king, “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be.” 22 And David said to Ittai, “Go then, pass on.” So Ittai the Gittite passed on with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. 23 And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness.

24 And Abiathar came up, and behold, Zadok came also with all the Levites, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God until the people had all passed out of the city. 25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. 26 But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Go back to the city in peace, with your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there.

30 But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. 31 And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”

32 While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,’ then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. 35 Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So whatever you hear from the king’s house, tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Behold, their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son, and by them you shall send to me everything you hear.” 37 So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.

16:1 When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, bearing two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of summer fruits, and a skin of wine. And the king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who faint in the wilderness to drink.” And the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father.’” Then the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” And Ziba said, “I pay homage; let me ever find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”

When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The LORD has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.”

Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. 12 It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. 14 And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.

15 Now Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. 16 And when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 And Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 And Hushai said to Absalom, “No, for whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 And again, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? As I have served your father, so I will serve you.”

20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your counsel. What shall we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house, and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a stench to your father, and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof. And Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.

17:1 Moreover, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged and throw him into a panic, and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man, and all the people will be at peace.” And the advice seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

Then Absalom said, “Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “Thus has Ahithophel spoken; shall we do as he says? If not, you speak.” Then Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.” Hushai said, “You know that your father and his men are mighty men, and that they are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is expert in war; he will not spend the night with the people. Behold, even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits or in some other place. And as soon as some of the people fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 Then even the valiant man, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and that those who are with him are valiant men. 11 But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, as the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. 12 So we shall come upon him in some place where he is to be found, and we shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground, and of him and all the men with him not one will be left. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.”

John 4:27–38 ()

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27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Psalm 87 ()

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A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song.

87:1   On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
    the LORD loves the gates of Zion
    more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
  Glorious things of you are spoken,
    O city of God. Selah
  Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
    behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush—
    “This one was born there,” they say.
  And of Zion it shall be said,
    “This one and that one were born in her”;
    for the Most High himself will establish her.
  The LORD records as he registers the peoples,
    “This one was born there.” Selah
  Singers and dancers alike say,
    “All my springs are in you.”

Proverbs 24:1–4 ()

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24:1   Be not envious of evil men,
    nor desire to be with them,
  for their hearts devise violence,
    and their lips talk of trouble.
  By wisdom a house is built,
    and by understanding it is established;
  by knowledge the rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant riches.

Sat 17 October, 2020


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