Director's Monthly Devotion

The Director's Monthly Devotion

January 2019

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” -Mark 16:15 (ESV)

As we look at the theme of “Arise & GO” in 2019, I want to ask you a few questions. What does the other side of the diamond of God’s grace look like? What things are yet to be uncovered and overturned? What do you have to learn about others, with others, and from others? Exploration is what a new year is all about.

For me, last year was preparation for what is happening this year. So as I navigated through each month of cross-cultural training in preparation for our missions trip to South Africa, I gleaned that I needed to make some thought-life adjustments. I learned that in our human nature, we judge and assess someone within the first thirty seconds of seeing them... we may not even have met them, but we judge them in our thoughts. 

In reflecting on my reactions to others around me, I recognized this tendency in my own heart. I felt terrible. Everything that I wanted and represented was being injured by my own thoughts! How could this be? 

“We, as recipients of God’s Grace, can still be prone to put up borders that Jesus abolished.”

This quote from the Arise devotional by International Justice Mission embodied what was happening in the conviction of my heart. It is not my calling to exclude anyone from God’s grace, but to proclaim God’s love and mercy to every person He puts in my path. I need to be intentional about my thoughts and align them with the person of Jesus. 

Join me in practicing opening my circle of grace this year. Veteran missionary Duane Elmer says we need to practice withholding judgement. We need to practice openness. We need to practice trusting others. We need to gain understanding from others. And we need to serve each other. When we keep Christ as the center of this process, we reflect the kingdom values He came to uphold. We look more like Him in the process. 

Let’s turn the diamond of the gospel so we can all experience another facet of God’s grace this year.

“The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad!” Psalm 126:3 (NIV) 
“Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” Isaiah 12:5 (NIV)

To God be the glory,

Michele Bowden
Women’s Ministry Director
Burke Community Church