This morning as I begin to write this devotional thought on behalf of God’s Work here in Thailand, I would like to take a moment and share from my heart to your heart as we come to the close of this last page of 2020 and prepare for the first page of 2021
God has been doing some absolutely amazing things here in Northern Thailand and I am normally very quick to report on God’s Working here in Thailand because I want my family, my friends, my neighbors, and my partners in ministry to know that God is good and that He is very active in using the people here at NTIM, Grace Language School, and Baan Athitaan Church in God’s work of reaching and transforming the lives of people from some of the least reached people groups in our world today.
BUT TODAY, God has prompted my heart to speak to you (and to others whom you feel led to forward this to message to) about ending this last page of the book of your life in 2020 on a good note by intentionally preparing to make some changes in your life as you begin a new chapter of the book of your life during 2021.
We as followers of Christ sometimes get sidetracked so easily from what is truly important to God. Life is not about gaining more stuff…. better housing, better Cars, better furniture, better phones, a larger savings account. No, that is not what life is all about.
Life is also not about having more fun. Now don’t misunderstand and think that it is wrong to have fun, no there is nothing at all wrong with have fun from time to time. I have fun almost every single day and have lots of fun when teams come out and serve with us in expanding God’s kingdom here in Northern Thailand. But, the motivation of our lives should not be seeking to have more fun. Rather we should seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness first and learn to have “fun” being obedient to our Master who has commissioned us with the task of joining Him in going to all people groups in our world and making disciples.Listen to what God’s Word says about the meaning of life and where we are to find our direction for life in Deuteronomy 8:2-3, "You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” Deut. 8:2-3
As followers of Jesus, our lives are not to be wasted.
As followers of Jesus, our talents are not to be wasted.
As followers of Jesus, our financial resources are not to be wasted.
As followers of Jesus, our time is not to be wasted.
As followers of Jesus, our lives are to be driven with a deep desire to be obedient to live according to what pleases God.
The Apostle Paul wrote to a young Pastor named Timothy and basically said something along these lines: “Timothy, the goal, the objective, the purpose of everything I have ever taught you is directed down to paths. The first path is to love God and the second path is to love others. But this love that you learn to give to God and to others should be a love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith. That is the Michael Johnson paraphrase version. Here is what he technically said in 1 Timothy 1:5, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.”
Today is the last page of our lives for 2020. You cannot go back and change what has already been written in your book but you can learn from it and intentionally choose to write a different story for 2021 starting tomorrow.
God understands that we slip up and fall and make mistakes from time to time. But He does expect us to not be driven by the same values that drive those who do not know Christ. We are not to be driven to gain more stuff but really to learn how to give more stuff away as we “store up treasures in heaven” not store up treasures here on the earth. We are not to be driven to have more fun. No, we are to learn to be more obedient to God and live in a way where we “have fun” doing the will of God for our lives.
Today God has given us an opportunity to reflect on 2020, rejoice where we have pleased God and recognize where we have not pleased God like we should have and INTENTIONALLY choose to start the new year off right with the helping our first page of the book of 2021 be written as a living sacrifice please to God.
We love you and have shared our heart with you and want to say Thank you for sending us to Thailand and supporting us as we seek to lead a small part of God’s work to reach the least reached peoples in this part of God’s World.
May this new year of 2021 be a year where you and I are more intentionally focused on seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteousness above all other people and things.
Much Love & Prayers. Your Servant to the Nations in and around Northern Thailand,
Michael for the team