In Lenten Devotional


“Then your light will shine
like the dawning sun,
and you
    will quickly be healed.
Your honesty will protect you
    as you advance,
and the glory of the Lord
    will defend you from behind.
 When you beg the Lord for help,
    he will answer, ‘Here I am!’

The Lord will always guide you
and provide good things to eat
    when you are in the desert.
He will make you healthy.
You will be like a garden
    that has plenty of water
or like a stream
    that never runs dry.
You will rebuild those houses
    left in ruins for years;
you will be known
as a builder and repairer
    of city walls and streets.” – Isaiah 58:8-12 (CEV)

I have always wished that I was more handy.

I grew up with a Dad that did do things around the house but he usually never allowed me to join him, because he had a very low patience level.  Any time we would work together would usually end in raised voices on his part.  However the one thing we did do together was build electronic projects together.  Sometimes he would build them and I would just watch and then other times he would ask me to join in.  I remember the times we would drive to Mississauga to go to the Heathkit office if Dad was having problems getting one of our stereo kits to work.  They had the proper equipment to test if the circuits worked or not.  Along with record shopping in Toronto with him, those were some of my happiest childhood memories.

When I was young, my Dad did build something for me.  He built this mini work bench that I could use to work on my own projects.  I loved that bench and when I no longer used it to make or create things, because it was too small, I used it to hold recording equipment when I started to do ping ponging recording with two cassette decks in our basement.  I so wanted to be handy but, like my Dad, had no patience to do work like sanding and refinishing.  I did try to refinish my first electric guitar but it was a disaster.  Now that I am older, I have been able to develop working with tools and my level of patience, and I would love to build my own guitar pedals and one day build a guitar kit and customize it to my liking.  Over COVID, I have been learning how to fix my own guitars and set them up (i.e. fret levelling, neck resets, more detailed intonation set ups) and it has been very rewarding to learn these skills.  When I get a free chance, I will spend time going over my old guitars and do a good set up job.  My next desire is to learn how to replace the nut on the guitar and cut them by hand (this is where the strings pass through where the headstock meets the neck – the white coloured piece that is usually plastic and could be improved by going to a bone or synthetic bone material).

But enough of me geeking out about guitar stuff!  My point in sharing all of this with you is that there is something extremely fulfilling about doing something with your own hands and create something new out of materials or parts.

I remember when our friend Tim made the suggestion that we should use the balance of the money from the sale of the old building on James Street to invest it in a Habitat for Humanity styled project.  I loved the idea, but was disappointed to know that our funds would help maybe only one family.  How great would that be to help a family in need of housing and create, with our own hands, something that would last forever and be an incredible blessing?

Our worship of God leads to bigger things beyond our own fulfilling experience.

Our worship show God how much we love Him, and in doing so, He blesses us with opportunity and experiences to bless others.  This is a fruit of worshipping Jesus that we should not take for granted.  We are reminded in verses 8 to 12 that if our worship is true and sincere, God will watch out for us.  He will allow our “lights to shine like the morning sun”, we will be healed, defended and best of all, He will be with us.  His presence through the Holy Spirit will bring us peace.

We are reminded again here in Isaiah to not mistreat others, slander them or falsely accuse others.  We are also called to feed those in need, to care for those without homes and in doing so, our light will shine to those who need to see it most.

I have been struggling with our work as a church.  We are at a crossroad to be sure, and what we do and the decisions we make now will affect what we do in the next five to ten years.  Being a church that is not bound to a building we have great freedom, but at the same time, it seems we have very few people to do the work.  We keep getting smaller and we are most certainly barely holding on if you use money as an indicator (which in all ministries should never be the litmus test for success).

My challenge to all of us is this:  we so critically need to worship God with all that we are during this Lenten pandemic season, whether we can meet together or not, so that God will inspire us to dream dreams for him.  God will then lead us to the next phase of our ministry and give us opportunities.

Do you have any dreams for your own personal ministry and for Graceworks or your own church?  Has God been inspiring you or bringing people into your life that have a particular need?  I wish to encourage you to not dismiss or sit on these dreams.  Share them with us.  Do you feel that we can’t do these things because we don’t have the “humanpower” to make it happen?  Pray and make a leap of faith that God will provide people to help us.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know that Graceworks would be known by those in the city as a spiritual repairer and a builder of the dreams of others?  We have all been squashed in life to not follow through on our dreams either by ourselves or those close to us.  Now is the time to offer these dreams to God and for us to show how our worship of God has been worthwhile.  It would be amazing if we could be a part of rebuilding the spiritual landscape of our city – that God would trust us to do the work and be truly inspired.

May our worship overflow into dreams and ideas for God.  May we be inspired to do things that might seem impossible now, but with God’s help become reality.  May the impossible be made possible with God.  All we need are believers willing to worship and to respond.  Share your dreams with others, church, no matter how big the dream might seem.  We worship a powerful and amazing God, so let’s stop doubting and start dreaming again.

The Impossible made possible!  May God rebuild us from the inside out so that we are ready for the possibilities and opportunities!

Have an amazing weekend 🙂

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