Monday, December 31, 2007

503 - It's Almost Here, 2008!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Wow - what a year. Thank you Jesus! Yesterday in church we had an excellent SS class and just an incredible church service as well. In Sunday School we talked about last year, the highs and lows, we discussed how we were going to make things different after all change only comes when you do things different. And then we also discussed scripture that has made us what we are and moves us to do certain things. In a real big class this could not happen, but in our small class we have such intense conversations and real "moments". It is awesome - thank you, Lord!

Then yesterday in our service our preacher started off by saying throw the bulletin away and just listen. He has no sermon notes, just wants to share. Now being in church as long as I have I immediately got scared - oh no, he is going to resign!!!!! But no!! Then my thoughts went to pastors that I have seen say they have no notes just want to share their hearts and if the truth were really spoken it meant that they were lazy and had just not prepared anything. It was so wonderfully awesome to know that my preacher, young preacher, is such a man of prayer and devotion that he would not dare come to the pulpit and fake a sermon kind of thing. I trust the words he says because I know he prays through everything. Even yesterday most of what he said yesterday was scripture. That man pretty much speaks scripture - it is kind of like listening to Kay Arthur - most of her messages are scripture just backing up point after point with scripture and more scripture - Oh Lord what great examples you have placed before me - thank you!!! Lord bless Luke - grow him, fill him, and use him mightily!! He was sooooo good yesterday. He was so real, and so passionate. I love when he walks away from his notes and just allows his personality to shine through and boldness to bold. He is so bold, but laced with grace. He reminds me so much of Chad at Crossroads! What great guys!

The scripture that, well one of the many scriptures, Luke put before us and gave us a challenge or charge to study was 1 Thes. 1:3. "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." Luke was using this scripture yesterday to show us how he felt about us as a church, but also how Paul was admonishing one of his churches. Luke had such a humble and thankful heart yesterday - wow!

So I had to dissect it this morning and what a blessing. "work produced by faith" Work here simply means your occupation or calling - what you are known to do... ie. she is a doctor. And that faith there is the well known "pistis" - what you believe, persuaded by, trust and a firm foundation of Christ. So Paul was saying here that he can not forget the solid foundation of faith these people have that flows over into their everyday work - what they do is produced by the strong faith and belief that is establish in Christ Jesus. Therefore the argument can be made that even though we are not in "ministry", we are all ministering at work no matter what it is. Our faith and belief produce the work we do and the way we do - AND others are watching!

"your labor prompted by love" This labor here is something different than work - occupation - like we just saw above. This is not so much the act of working as it is the exertion and "labor" it takes to make it or do it. The trouble, the exertion, the weariness felt in the job... and i could have guess it, this labor is prompted by love and yes that is the agape love.

"your endurance inspired by hope" This is not the endurance like in being able to endure people or have patience with people. This is the endurance to with circumstances and situations. "the quality of character that does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. All of this is inspired by hope - hope in out Lord Jesus.

When we put this all together it is awesome!!! Paul is looking back on this church and saying - I can not forget the work I have seen you doing day in and day out - what you have been called to do, what you have been made to do, what God created for you to do and with such Faith. Your faith and believing God is such a foundation for your work and it shows to all those around. Because of your solid foundation I see the trouble that you go through or the lengths you go to to do your "job" with such love. Love has prompted you because of your solid foundation of Faith in our Lord Jesus and only through that is this love evident. This is Christ's love showing through in your labor - AND others see that too. If we go a step deeper into your inner soul we can see that your character is such and you will not let up. The hope our of our Lord Jesus returning is worth the wait - you will endure, you will labor, and you will work... but all because of the solid foundation of Faith, inspired by hope and prompted by love!!! Wow - now that is one tall order or affirmation!!

Thank you Father for your Word! Thank you for the flow and the consistency of it! Thank you for allowing me to study your Word and be changed by it. May that never change! Lord, may this be a year that I am prompted by love. May the solid foundation of faith and belief in You, my Savior, be life changing for me. May I be inspired by the hope of your returning and have more of a kingdom approach to everything I do. May I put all trust in you and endure through all circumstances. May I work my hardest and labor with joy. Oh Lord, make this a year to remember. I want to remember all the ways I saw your hand. I want to remember all your miracles and wonders. I want to take in your joy and walk in it!!! I want to be different. Oh Father, do your work in me!!! I praise you!!


Nicki said...

Very well said Leigh! I love your true heart's desire to know Him more and more.

Val is an incredible prayer warrior! She has such a gift!! I loved her prayer for your was very touching!! Happy New Year!!

Melissa May said...

Hi Leigh! Just wanted to tell you I'm back from my blog vacation (which was really good) :) and it was nice to "visit" you again today. I totally agree with Val's prayer for your ministry. May God give you everything You need to know His love so that His love will overflow out of you onto others this year!

Leigh Gray said...

Hey Melissa - welcome back!! Glad tohear from you!! Can't wait to see what He does with you in this coming year! did you get to check out

Let me know what you think!