“And Manoah said, ‘Now when your words come true, what is to be the child's manner of life, and what is his mission?’” Judges 13:12, ESV
Today's Scripture: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10, ESV
Theme: You have a purpose.
A NEW WAY TO BE HUMAN
HEAVEN AND EARTH COLLIDE
Beloved, you are the handiwork of God! He created you just as you are and imbued with purpose to live your life in such a way that you, as a Christian, show others what it looks like to live as a citizen of heaven. We know a little bit about what heaven looks like because Jesus gave us glimpses of it during His ministry.
In Exodus, the Presence of God dwelt among the people in the Tabernacle, the place where heaven and earth collided. When Jesus came, heaven and earth collided in a brand-new way. This time, He dwelt among us as one of us. During His ministry on earth, Jesus showed us—with brilliant color—what we can look forward to in the New Creation. He healed the sick. He cared for the least of these. He elevated the lowly. He forgave radically. He fed the hungry. He served selflessly and sacrificially. When Jesus came, the last became first and gave us a fuller picture of God’s design for creation.
THY WILL BE DONE
That’s where we come in! We who are in Christ were created with a purpose, and, according to the Bible, that purpose is to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). So how do we do that? We bring glimpses of heaven to earth, friends. We care for the sick. We feed the hungry. We elevate the lowly. We welcome the stranger. We turn the other cheek. We practice radical, selfless love. In short: we do good works. And in doing them, through us, God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
CREATED FOR GOOD WORKS
You no longer have to wonder what you were created for. The search for self-fulfillment, the quest for wealth, the ideal of perfection – those are not the goal. Our goal is pleasing God. And paradoxically, when we are obedient to God, we find that we are fulfilled. Walking in obedience to God is our purpose. Helping to show the rest of this world what the New Creation is going to look like is our job. So lift the veil and give the rest of the world a peek at heaven by walking in the good works Jesus has prepared for you. This is Good News for all people!
Make it Personal: While reading this, perhaps the Holy Spirit called to your mind something you need to be doing to fulfill your purpose of good works in this world as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. What is that thing? What is your next step? God wants to give people a glimpse of heaven through your good works.
Pray: God, You have created us with a purpose. You have established the work of our hands according to Your glory, and You know exactly what our calling is. Show us the works You have planned for us so that we can engage in kingdom work and so that we can show others what it looks like when heaven and earth collide. Amen.
Today's Scripture: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16, ESV
Theme: You have a life mission.
What’s My Mission Kendra Intihar
HEROES OF SCRIPTURE
In the Bible, we are introduced to many figures who seem to have a single call on their lives. Noah, Jonah, Rahab, Samson…we know their stories, and we can probably tell you the key details of their ministry and mission in this world. Did you know that you have a ministry in this world, too?
EAGER FOR A CALLING
My entire life, I have struggled with wondering what my calling is. I was convinced that there must be some high purpose in my life that I could work toward. I did Spiritual Gifts quizzes. I can tell you my Myers Briggs type and my Enneagram number. I’ve done the True Colors personality test and the DISC assessment. I know what my Love Language is, and I took that one Facebook quiz about which Fraggle Rock character I’m most like. I was so eager to use these methods to determine my calling. And you’re not going to believe this, but not a single one of those tests ever told me what God wants me to do with my life.
DISCOVERING MY MISSION
So, what is my ministry? What is my mission? Do you ever wonder that? Here’s the secret: Look at the (metaphorical) thing right in front of you. That’s your mission. Is it packing sandwiches for the weekend backpack program at your child’s school? Is it helping to serve meals at the soup kitchen? Is it using your gifts and skills to do free-of-charge work for your neighbors in need? Can you do taxes for an elderly person or show a single mother how to cook? Your mission is the thing God has put right in front of you and for which He has given you the skills and resources to accomplish in His Name. That college degree. That bank account. That pantry full of food. That eagerness to contribute meaningfully to the wellbeing of your neighbors. There it is, friend. That’s your mission.
Make it Personal: You may have a single, defining call on your life like Noah. Like Rahab. Like Samson. But regardless of whether your life’s mission is laser-focused or not, I’m here to tell you that the very best way to discover it is to pick up the tools you’ve been given and start working.
Pray: Father, thank You for placing a call on my life. Just like Jeremiah, You know the plans You have for me. They are plans for a hope and a future. But they don’t just affect me; they affect others, too. Your very good plan for my life is ultimately meant to bring glory to Your Name. Thank you for establishing the work of my hands. Let me be the vessel that pours Your goodness into my little corner of the world. Amen.
Today's Scripture: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6, ESV
Theme: God’s will for your life is bigger than your bad decisions.
THE ALTERNATE 1985
My all-time favorite movie is “Back to the Future” (all of them, but obviously parts I and III are the best). In the movie, Marty, the main character, goes back in time and accidentally alters his past, which alters his future. When he “returns” to his own time, 1985, he discovers that nothing is the way he left it. It was a disaster. This wasn’t what he had planned. A decision that was made in the past had completely upended his life. According to his friend “Doc” Brown, he had ended up in the alternate 1985 and had to find a way to go back and fix it.
No matter what he did, he’d never make it back to the timeline he knew from before, but he turned back and began to make a series of decisions that would put him in a better 1985 than the one he found himself in presently. The consequences of his actions were painful, but when he turned around and made new, wiser decisions, he ended up finding himself in an even better place than the one he had planned.
Have you ever felt like you were living in the “alternate 1985”? That a decision you or someone else made had completely changed the trajectory of your life?
YOU’RE NOT THAT POWERFUL
I remember the first time I read the words, “If you think you’ve messed up God’s plan for your life, rest in this: You are not that powerful.” I have rarely been so relieved. If you’ve never read those words before, or if it’s been a while, please do yourself the favor of going back and re-reading them one more time. Close your eyes and bask in the relief of knowing that nothing you could ever do could thwart the plans that the Creator of this universe has made for your life or anyone else’s.
YOU CAN’T OUT-BAD GOD’S GOODNESS
We can step out of obedience, and we can ignore the correction of the Holy Spirit. There are sometimes even dire consequences for these decisions. Nevertheless, the Lord’s purpose will prevail. It’s a comfort to me to know that no matter how much I mess up, I can’t out-bad God’s goodness, and I can’t undo His plans in my life or anyone else’s.
Make it Personal: If you ever feel like you’ve committed a grievous sin or error that has messed up your life, Scripture gives us a way through this: repent. “Repentance” literally means “turning back.” Assess what happened, turn around, and begin in this moment to walk in obedience to God. He started something good in you, and He is perfecting you daily until Christ’s return. You can’t mess up His plans for you. He’s got you.
Pray: God, we are making big decisions all the time. Direct our footsteps so that we walk the path you have prepared for us, but God, when we mess up, help us to remember that nothing we do puts us beyond your reach, and that you are working all things together for our good. Amen.
Today's Scripture: “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24, EVS Theme: Stop making excuses.
NO EXCUSE TO SKIP LIFE GROUP
The reason I feel connected in a place as big as The Cove Church is because of my Life Group. If I attend each week and participate, I feel God working and my life is affected for the better. When I make excuses, especially more than one week in a row, I feel disconnected, frustrated, and not sure if I am where I belong.
NO EXCUSE TO SKIP DAILY BIBLE READING
Daily quiet time and committing to a Bible reading plan makes me better. God brings His Word to mind when I read it (even just a verse or two) every day. The right verse or story is close at hand to share and encourage someone else or direct my own steps because it was recently reviewed. If I am faithful to read His Word, I see my mind transformed by His Truth. When I make excuses, I get behind, off-track, and my mind focuses elsewhere.
NO EXCUSE TO SKIP WEEKEND SERVICES
Attending a service and serving weekly also makes me better. When I interact with the people of God in-person as much as I can, and faithfully online when I can’t, He is also faithful. I fall into the rhythm of the church body, stay grounded, recognize my faults, give grace, and keep humble. When I make excuses, weeks go by, my schedule is busy, and I don’t even realize I’m far from God.
At The Cove, we talk about how practices like serving, attending the weekly service, Life Group, and having a quiet time with God are like four legs on a stool. They help make our faith secure and stable. When I make excuses, it is like leaning or sitting on a shaky stool, missing a leg. It takes strength to sit up there and I’m more likely to fall.
Make it Personal: Today is your day. Choose to show up and don’t make excuses. Do you need to be at the weekly service, commit to a serving team, join a Life Group, or step up and lead? If God is calling you to it, no excuse is relevant. The Bible is full of people who made excuses, but God used them anyway. They had valid concerns like slow speech, humble lineage, no resources, and captivity. God is bigger than our problems. Just because we don’t see a way on our own doesn’t mean He can’t make one. If God is calling you to it, your life will be better, and you will be better when you listen and obey His call.
Pray: Dear God, Thank You for giving me the resources I need when all I have are weaknesses and problems. I give those, along with my excuses, to You. Help me to trust You with all my life, including the parts I’d rather manage myself. Help me to remain faithful and fruitful with Your guidance and strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Today's Scripture: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1, ESV
Theme: Today is the day to start; forgive yourself.
Last year my middle daughter placed second in her school spelling bee. She is the best speller in our family. I can’t spell anything out loud or under pressure the way she can. We worked on words for weeks, even over Christmas break. She made a cute “bee”-themed necklace.
This year’s spelling bee was today. I watched on zoom and was so proud of her as she made it to top 10, then 8, then 5! The competition was fierce, and the words were difficult. She remembered to ask for definitions. She remembered to ask for words in a sentence. The top four were given a bathroom and water break before the final round. I was just watching, and I was nervous. I am so proud of her – she placed third in her school! But as she got off the bus, I saw her shoulders slumped and her face down-cast. She felt terrible because she thought she should have gotten the word right and she didn’t.
We do this, too. We condemn ourselves when we should be proud of our efforts. My heart aches that Sierra didn’t place as high as she wanted to, but I also just want her to know how loved she is, no matter what happened at the school bee, and how amazing her achievement was. God loves us when we make mistakes, when we are disappointed, depressed, or feel like a failure. He can use us right where we are. God doesn’t look at us and say, “What you did isn’t good enough.” He looks at us and says: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11b, NIV).
For the thing you did that really was a sin, today is the day – ask God to forgive you and then forgive yourself. For the failing you are ashamed of – today is the day to forgive yourself and look for the ways God will use you right where and as you are. For the opportunity you missed, the mistake you made, the money you lost, the kids’ event you forgot, the work project you botched – today is the day to forgive yourself. No condemnation.
Make it Personal: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12b, NIV). Follow Jesus. Don’t walk in darkness. If you follow Him, you can forgive like He does – even forgiving yourself. Then you will have the light of life! And life will be lighter too.
Pray: My Father, I am sometimes so ashamed or disappointed in myself. I often assume You are equally disgusted with me. Help me to feel Your unconditional love and unending grace. You continue to seek me and my restoration. You continue to draw me to Yourself. Help me to submit to the attraction of Your love and care for me. I want to forgive myself and move on. I’m ready to be a part of Your work here on earth. Amen.