Our God is an incarnate God who took on a human nature. The Message writes John 1 this way:
“The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one….
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:1-2,14a)
As you prepare for this time with God, prayerfully consider how God is present in your neighborhood today.
Listening to God
The apostle Paul was wandering around Athens, noticing all the idols set up for worshipping other gods. Among them was one with the inscription “To an unknown god.” Paul used this opportunity to share this truth with the people:
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man, he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
“Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31)
Talking to God
Paul noticed both the ungodly things in this community (the idols) and how God was planting seeds of truth and wonder (through the poets). Talk with God today about the sin and brokenness you see in your neighborhood and ask Him to bring healing and truth into these situations.
Responding to God
What are you learning about your neighborhood? What are the idols that people serve in your community? What are they searching for? How is God working among them already? Take a walk through your neighborhood today and bring your neighbors to God in prayer.
Surrendering to God
Does your own life reflect the truth of God’s grace or are you also distracted by idols? What is getting in the way of following God with your whole heart, mind, and strength? Surrender these things to God today and ask for His help and His strength.
By Amy Schenkel
A HISTORICAL SIDEBAR
William Carey (1761–1834), an English Calvinist and missionary to India, is considered by some to be the “father of modern missions” as we understand it today. While in India, he contracted malaria, lost his 5 year old son to dysentery, and watched his wife’s mental health quickly deteriorate. Carey quickly realized: missions if often not easy, and often very difficult. “This is indeed the valley of the shadow of death to me . . . But I rejoice that I am here notwithstanding; and God is here.” He later became known for a famous phrase – “expect great things; attempt great things” – an expression that roughly summarizes the approach to modern missions.
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