There's less than a week until the Mission Conference in Maryville, MO. We thought we would share some thoughts concerning missions over the course of this week to not only set our minds on the conference, but also to share the Word. There is still time to RSVP if you're interested, either through the Here Am I Facebook Page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! The conference will be held at the Maryville Community Center on November, 9th, from 8:30am-4:30pm. Speakers will include our very own David Spencer, Jeff Kennedy and Casey King of HERE AM I Ministries, and Greg Stout of Safe Water International Ministries. We'll have worship with JC Dirks and Eli Masilko. Plus, lunch will be provided! All are welcome to attend! Now, onto the the Word!
Today and tomorrow we're going to look at Psalm 1:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Hebrew poetry often contrasts two ideas or themes. In this case there's a contrast between those who follow the Lord and those who do not. From the first paragraph we see what the blessed (or literally, "happy") person doesn't do, implying that the ungodly person does do these things. Ultimately, the blessed person is separate from the "wisdom" or ways of the world - not following the world's way of thinking (counsel of the ungodly), doing things the world's way (path of sinners), or judging as the world judges (seat of the scornful). On the contrary, the blessed person delights (or, longs for) the law (or, instruction/direction) of God, focused on it all the time, as the ways of God are also contrary to the ways of the world. In other words, the more we seek God and what He has for us, the less like the world our lives should look, if we truly want the blessing God has for our lives.
God has called all of His followers into a closer, completely dependent life with Him. That alone is contrary to the world's ways. We aren't supposed to need anyone! We're supposed to be strong and independent! But God knows our absolute need for Him. And, He wants us to be dependent on Him. Why? Because His way is best for us! Blessing can't come apart from Him! (Just as the tree the blessed man is compared to in the second paragraph is dependent on the streams of water to bring forth the fruit, have unwithering leaves, etc.....but we'll get to that tomorrow!)
The bottom line is this: in missions, the ministry, and the life of the believer, God has called us to be set apart, or sanctified. Sanctification means what we do, how we live, and how we deal with others is different than the world's way of doing things. And apart from being what's best for us, sanctification is the primary way the world can see the power of God in our lives. This is what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 5:14-16:
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Sanctification is key to really reaching the world, whether in our families, towns, or even in Africa. Our lives must be contrary to the way of the world. And, we pray God continues to lead us into that sanctification, that the work of missions God has called each one of us to, may be done God's way and in His power.