WEEK 4 - DAY 28

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5

God made us to be who we are. Recently, I saw on Facebook a quote that said, “Maybe the journey isn’t so much
about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you

were meant to be in the first place.” I have spent far too many years trying to be like everyone else. This is not only impossible, it is also unbiblical! In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul points out that as Christians we form a body, the Church, which is made up of different parts. Like in a body, different parts do different things, which means we’re good at some things but not other things. That mix is unique to each person.

God appointed Jeremiah as a prophet to the nations. As Christians, we all have been similarly appointed to make disciples of all nations, (Matt 28:19), but how we do this differs from person to person. We don’t all necessarily have to go out onto the streets, it could be that we are called

to build a long-term relationship with our neighbours or colleagues, but whatever we do, we need to be ourselves.

Prayer

God, thank you for making me and thank you for making me who I am. Holy Spirit, please guide me into discovering more and more who You meant me to be even before I was formed in the womb, so that I can live out as best as possible the purpose You have called me to. Amen.

Response

Think about who you are and what you love doing and
think of a way you can combine that with reaching out to a non-Christian in your life. It could be baking for someone, or playing squash together, or putting the world to rights over a coffee, but do something that’s “you”!

WEEK 4 - DAY 27

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” - Matthew 20:26

Today, there’s often talk about strong leaders, about someone who can come in, stamp their authority on things, and coerce others into doing things the ‘right’ way. Two thousand years ago, this was no different. One such person, the Emperor, ran the Roman Empire. In Judea, the Jews hoped for a similar strong leader to revolt against Rome and once again bring glory back to a new independent nation of Israel. What they got however, was Jesus.

Jesus, who was in His very nature God, made Himself a servant dying a humiliating death, (Phil 2:5-8). He did not use His divine power to take over and smash the baddies, (Matt 4:8-10). Instead, He repeatedly pointed to love and service as not only imitating God’s heart but as the proper way to lead. So much so that one of His last acts before His death was to wash His disciples’ feet.

Truly strong leadership is about being strong enough to get on our knees and serve, about getting our hands dirty, it about dying to ourselves and living for God and for others. It’s not about bringing glory to ourselves, but to God.

Prayer

Jesus, we praise you because you are truly amazing. You, by whom and through whom all things were made, loved us so much that you gave up all the privileges of being divine and suffered death on a cross so that we could be reconciled

to you. Help us to have the same heart, willing to sacrifice prestige for loving others. Amen.

Response

Look for a way to serve someone today without them even knowing it was you!

WEEK 4 - DAY 26

“Jesus called them together and said, ’You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life

as a ransom for many’.” - Mark 10:42-45

Jesus is saying in this scripture that the best way to lead is actually to serve. The culture at the time, and today, says that to be a leader is to have status and power over others. Jesus calls us not to have power, but to empower. To use what we have and give it to others to enable them to experience life to the full.

It is in our human nature to strive for significance, but God says that we already have significance and importance in Him. We can rest in a place of knowing that we are loved and accepted, and that everything that we have been given is a gift from God. It is from this place that we are called to live a life of learning how to lovingly serve and generously give. In a world, that so loudly embraces status and power, we are called to embrace and celebrate the opposite.

The world calls us to protect and foster our gifts and possessions, to keep them for ourselves and collect as many as we can. God calls us to use our gifts and possessions for the benefit of others, to serve and empower, giving as generously as we can.

Jesus is the best example of a servant leader; He gave His life to loving God and loving people. At the heart of His ministry was a deep sense of serving the people around Him and enabling them to be who they were created to be. This ultimately led to His death on the cross, which He did for everybody, even those who did not yet know Him. This is what He also calls us into, a life of serving, encouraging and empowering others, just as He did for us.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the gifts and possessions that You have blessed us with in this life. Thank you that each of us has a different ability to influence and empower the people around us by generously giving our time, money and prayers. Help us to see where we can use our gifts and possessions for serving and empowering others and to accept that this has also been done for us by Jesus. Amen.

Response

Write a list of gifts and possessions you have that could be used to serve and empower others. Commit to using one today.

WEEK 4 - DAY 25

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” - 1 Timothy 4:12

Paul had sent Timothy to the church in Ephesus to instruct them as they needed correction in some of their practices. Timothy was sent in order to teach the truth just has Paul had earlier.

In life sometimes, there are things that people do, habits that people have fallen into because it’s easy but not necessarily right. God wants us to hear His voice and obey, regardless of what the common practice or culture is. Timothy was a great example of this, he knew how to honour God in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, and regardless of his age, he was able to be an influence. God does not disqualify us based on physical status, including the length of time we have been alive. Paul knew this and encouraged Timothy, that even though he might be seen
as young, He knew what living for God was all about. Age may have been a barrier in the eyes of Timothy, but God had bigger plans. In a world where we are constantly surrounded by measures of qualification, God says that we are already enough and that we have a purpose. He had placed a calling on Timothy’s life and nothing was going to get in the way of that.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the way you have created us. Please remind us of the passion You have put in our heart. Help
us to hear your truth that we are enough and we have a purpose. Reveal to us and help us to overcome the barriers that make us feel disqualified, and call us closer to You, and who You made us to be. Amen.

Response

What are some ways that you can honour God in your life today? Have you thought about the possibility that you could be a leader in this area? Do not let any barriers get in the way of your calling.

WEEK 4 - DAY 24

“So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10

Earlier this year, I took my children to an indoor climbing centre. After being harnessed up, I scaled a wall only to be beaten to the top by my 10-year-old. Oh the shame!

The descent was rather more difficult. You see, I had to let go of the wall grips and lean back into the harness allowing the rope and pulley to take my weight. Fear gripped me. Though my brain told me the equipment would hold me, I found it difficult to let go.

Today’s verse reminds us that the God of the universe, the God who placed stars into space (Ps 8:3) will help us, strengthen us and hold us - all using only one hand!

Are there people or situations you need to let go and allow yourself to rest in the mighty hand of God? Do you have dreams you would love to fulfil but are fearful of stepping out into the unknown? Our God says to you today, don’t be afraid or dismayed, I am helping you and I’ve got you.

Prayer

Father, thank you that You will never leave me or desert me. Give me the confidence to allow You to lead me in all areas of my life, knowing You are with me. Amen.

Response

Take time to meditate on this scripture. Ask what would
it look like for me to allow the Holy Spirit to take care of situations I’ve been afraid to let go of and to lead me into my full potential with the knowledge that my loving, heavenly Father will give me the strength and the help I need?

WEEK 4 - DAY 23

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

- James 1:4

A wise person once told me that trials, whether they be difficult circumstances or people, are a gift. I asked if it came with an exchange card!

What this person said is indeed true. As we face life’s difficulties, our responses show what is in our heart. Sometimes it just ain’t pretty! But as we run to the Father and pour out our struggles to Him, He lovingly comforts us, gently corrects us and wondrously heals us.

The healing of our hearts not only brings a new freedom in our own life, but also can have a profound effect on those around us. The Father has a marvellous way of spreading healing through those who have experienced healing. As 2 Corinthians 1:4 shows us, we can comfort those who have troubles, as we have been comforted. And that indeed is a gift.

Prayer

Father, when I face life’s difficulties would You remind me to run to You, to seek your face, wisdom and guidance. Thank you for your healing power and your desire to bring freedom in all areas of my life. Amen.

Response

Today, ask the Holy Spirit what He would like to show you. Take time to listen and trust He will lovingly lead you into all truth.

WEEK 4 - DAY 22

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one
who sent him.” - John 13:13-16

To be a genuinely great leader you first must learn to be a great follower, and the greatest example we have to follow is our own Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. With everything He did, as He lived His life on earth, He did as an example for us to follow. And as we see Him model leadership we see that the very nature of His life and leadership was servanthood. Most people associate leadership with anything but doing the dirty work.

Yet the one time Jesus set out to give a very clear demonstration of what it means to lead in His kingdom, He did one of the dirtiest jobs we could think of; especially in a day and age where everyone wore sandals... more than likely walking through dirt, mud and animal droppings for most of the day!

The very clear point of this passage is that if this is what our leader did, in regards to serving others, then we should expect that He is looking for to us do the same if we want to lead in His kingdom. Obviously, this may not mean the exact same actions Jesus did in His day, as we now have covered shoes (Praise the Lord!). The same act today is not really an act of service in the same way it was in Jesus’ day. But each of us

as followers of Jesus can expect, that to follow Jesus into the places of darkness He is leading us into, is going to involve the same willingness our Lord had to doing the dirty work, that others may not be willing to do.

Prayer

Lord, I pray you give me the humility of heaven today to embrace an attitude of servanthood. Prepare me to be the light in the darkness and empower me with courage to do whatever you are asking me to do for others, at any given time. Amen.

Response

Look for opportunities today to lower yourself in the sight of others, by doing jobs no one else really wants to do.