Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 04/22/20

It All Matters - Even in a Pandemic

We can count on God to make the best things from the rubble of our plans. - Kathy Carlton Willis

STORY: Dashed Plans Change Focus

The day this devo-study goes live, I was supposed to be leading a WordGirls Getaway for fun Christian women who are serious about writing. We’d been planning it for almost a year. A member offered her ranch for the location and would cater the meals for us. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? And now that we’re all self-isolating, it’s even more clear that just the fellowship alone would have been such a blessing.

But we had to cancel. We had to pivot our plans. Now we’ll be doing a virtual writing retreat instead.

When we make plans, no matter how set in stone they are, really, they are tentative. We never know what might happen. But we can count on God to make the best things from the rubble of our plans. It is said when man plans, God laughs. When we trust God, we can all laugh together, or at least grin. God’s got this!

STUDY: First We Focus

For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit. (Mark 13:10-11 NLT)
  • This passage is from Jesus’ words to the disciples. But we can also gain wisdom from it.
  • God’s message, the Good News, is designed to go global. It’s a top priority—“must first.”
  • The rest of the passage is specifically designed for the disciples when they are arrested and stand trial for spreading the gospel. But we can also take comfort knowing any time we are obedient to God we don’t have to worry about what to say to others. How will God help us?
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:4-11 NLT)
  • What stands out to you about the gift of grace, based on this passage?
  • What level of legalism or judgmentalism do you fight in your own life?
  • What is the significance of the first stone in this illustration?
  • Who do you relate to most in this story?
  • The passage isn’t soft on sin—what does Jesus tell the woman?
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. (Romans 1:16 NLT)
  • Romans is written by Paul to the gentiles in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his own holy people, according to Romans 1:7.
  • Right before this verse, Paul wrote that he was eager to come to them and help them grow spiritually. Knowing that, what is the significance of the first sentence in this verse?
  • How do you personally feel when God nudges you to share his message with someone? What would make you feel ashamed? What would make you feel bold?
  • How is the gospel “the power of God at work”?
  • What is the significance of the gospel coming to save the Jew first, but also the Gentile? And keep in mind this is written to gentiles.
Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:15-20 NLT)
  • We are looking at the word first. In this passage, what did Paul first hear of?
  • When I read this, I think to myself, what do my spiritual mentors hear when they get reports about me.
  • What can we do to strengthen our faith and our love for others?
  • Is there someone who looks up to you in the faith? If so, as you read this passage, think of them and stop to thank God for them, and their growth. Consider personalizing this passage into a prayer for them, and even sending them a note.

STEPS: First We Pray, Then We Go

  1. Spread the Good News. Who will you share the gospel with?
  2. Go and sin no more. Is there any sin that is keeping you from sweet fellowship with Jesus?
  3. Thank God for your mentor and mentee. Who has helped you grow in the faith? Who is the one you are mentoring in the faith?

Copyright © 2020 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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