This morning I had the privilege of sharing a devotion with our middle and upper school faculty. It was a weighty challenge for me to consider and I hope it will be an encouragement to you!
Over the course of the last several weeks, God has really been speaking to my heart a powerful message of HOPE. It seems to be the theme of everything I read, things I see, and conversations that I have.
I just finished reading the book The Noticer by Andy Andrews. (Check out my review here) The whole premise of the book is understanding that you were created by God to do something great. Sometimes all it takes is someone to remind you of that every once in a while. How many times have you noticed someone around you that needs some encouragement? How many times have you acted on that? The Noticer is about being the catalyst that can activate the hopes and dreams that get locked up in a person due to feelings of inadequacy and failure.
Last Thursday night, NCCS hosted Dave Ramsey’s Town Hall for Hope. (Check out my review here) He spent time talking about the economy and what God’s Word has to say about our finances. He challenged the listeners to avoid “the loser talk”. It is so easy for us to get caught up in the negative things about the economy and our world right now.
God really convicted me about how easy it is to get caught up in the loser talk. It is so much easier to commiserate with all that is going wrong than it is to celebrate the things that are going great.
As we consider our own school, it is easy to look at next year’s enrollment and be discouraged that it is lower than we anticipated. But…instead shouldn’t we be excited that close to 700 kids are already reenrolled for next year? In this economy where everyone is watching every dollar…we have that many families that are investing in eternity by choosing Christian education for their child!
Is it easy to complain that the master site plan isn’t blazing along as fast as we hoped? Sure, but how many of us have come from other schools or visited other schools that would be over the moon to have the facilities we currently have? How often are we thankful for the nice buildings that we already have? Spend some time talking to the people who were here 25 years ago when our school started and hear the excitement in their voices as they talk about when they moved in to the buildings we currently have.
Do I realize that we are surrounded by people who are looking for jobs? People that we currently work with are looking for jobs. Am I grieved by that? Definitely! I love these folks, but I pray that they find hope in the fact that God loves them way more than any of us ever could. He desires for them to be fulfilled and for their families to be provided for. I’d much rather place my hope in Him than in a job or an organization. God has a plan for all of us!
God drew my attention the other day to I Peter chapter 1 starting in verse 13…
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
I love the part where this passage talks about the empty way of life that was handed down to us by our forefathers and the fact that Jesus was chosen before the creation of the world to redeem us so that through His resurrection and victory over death, our faith and hope are in God! If that doesn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will!
God has used these verses and several powerful messages of hope to challenge me to focus on Him and not allow Satan to distract me from what God is doing in and around me at all times.
I closed out our time of devotion by playing a song “With Everything” on my guitar. It is written by Hillsong and it talks about seeing with the eyes of God and laying down ourselves and our pride in favor of His glory. The chorus says, “Let hope rise and darkness tremble in your Holy light, And every eye will see, Jesus, our God, great and mighty to be praised.” Let’s partner together to let hope rise so that the darkness will tremble in the light of Christ.
I am going to leave you with the words of this song. May our hearts cry out in victory today over the fact that Jesus is alive, He isn’t lessened by the state of our economy or our own worries. He has triumphed over sin, death, hell, and the grave and He wants us to let hope rise. It is an honor to serve alongside each of you and I truly believe that greater things are yet to come here!
Open our eyes,
To see the things
That make Your heart cry,
To be the church
That You would desire.
Light to be seen.
Break down our pride,
And all the walls
We’ve built up inside,
Our earthly crowns
And all our desires,
We lay at Your feet.
So let hope rise,
And darkness tremble
In Your holy light,
And every eye will see
Jesus, our God,
Great and mighty to be praised.
God of all days,
Glorious in all of Your ways.
Your majesty, the wonder and grace,
In the light of Your name.
We will shout for your glory.
We will shout forth your praise.
Our hearts will cry
Be lifted high,
Above all names.
For You our King,
We will shout forth your praise.