Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a lesson learned today

Do you feel depressed?
      worn out
      ready to quit
      tired of criticism
Today in one of my classes, we discussed criticism and how to handle it, because anyone that leads (in any way) will be criticized at some point.  My professor shared a wonderful devotion.  It was a devotion someone shared with him during a hard time of his ministry.  I found his words to be so inspiring.  I wanted to write this down so when I go through a time when I am weary and tired, I will be reminded of this devotion, but also to encourage you blogfriends :) I know many of you answered "yes" to one of the questions above and I hope my professor's words will be an encouragement.

2 Corinthians 2:14
"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. "

Paul shares with us the amazing promise from Jesus.  He will always lead us in triumph.  Now for some of the tired and weary, this appears ridiculous.  Lord, are you really being triumphant with this battle in my life?  It sure doesn't feel like it's getting any better?  How can you lead me to triumph?
Well, Paul continues on in his writing and shares that this confidence of triumph is only achieved through Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3:4-5
"Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God."

If we are doing ministry (or life in general) for our own competence we will fail.  So many of us are drowning in our own misery because we tried to find competence through our talents, looks, charisma... but Paul makes it clear that we are only truly triumphant through God.  We need to look outside for strength from Him. 
It takes the power from God, not from our own self, to be a better minister. (wife, mother, friend, leader...)

2 Corinthians 4:7-9
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

For those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, we have a treasure inside of us, the Holy Spirit.  The job of the Holy Spirit is to be with us when we are perplexed, but keep us from despair.  Those things will be thrown at you, but we must realize we can't go at it alone.  If we find the treasure in us, we will not be abandoned, destroyed, crushed, or in despair.  But how can we get this to happen?

2 Corinthians 4:10-12
"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but LIFE is at work in you."

Well how does that work?  Carrying Jesus' death in me?  What?   It is the power of the Spirit, through the death of Christ and his salvation, that we won't be destroyed!  
There are 2 ways to do ministry.  You either life the ministry of death (sorrow, anger, burnt out, doubt) or life (excitement, passion, fulfillment, joy, peace) and the life of your ministry depends on your emotions.  When you feel the death emotions keeping you up at night you are living the ministry of death.  

In the diagram above, you see there are the two choices of life (ministry of death/life)  On the left, Christ is still a part of your life and ministry, but your ego is on the throne (yes I drew a sad looking throne *).  You try too hard to look pretty, act talented, etc. that Christ is no longer the focus.  On the right, you still have your ego as a part of your  life because unfortunately that is something we as humans will always battle, but instead of the other picture, Christ is on your throne.  You have to choose who do you want on the throne of your life and ministry?  If you choose life, Jesus can help you get through any circumstance even if now it seems like your darkest hour.  

But how do you go from a deep despair/hardship to joy, just like that?!  You may know you are in a dark time, but just can't get out of it!  Well the way to shift over is simple, but will always start with getting your emotions on the right track.  The power comes from God alone, like we read earlier in Corinthians.  The answer is PRAYER.  Pray to the one who holds the power, ask for the Holy Spirit to alter your outlook on life.  The Lord is waiting and ready for you to experience life with Him, full of passion, joy and confidence.  Simply tell Him, "I'm dying here!  My ego is on the throne and I need to give it over to you.  My ministry, my life is yours."  It is amazing what prayer can do.  Prayer connects you with the all powerful God that wants you to get out of despair from criticism and bring life into your weary heart.      


  1. I am going to send a few peeps to your blog...this is TOO good and I can't thank you enough for sharing! I hope you will share your class with us more often :)

  2. By the way, what class are you taking? And what are you majoring in?

  3. That is a fantastic devotion & i'm so glad you shared it with us!

    It is such a constant battle to take the focus off yourself & recognize your place in reference to the Lord. We have such great promises in Him!

    Thanks again-

  4. I am glad you all were touched by the devotion as much as I was! The class was Advanced Communication and I'm majoring in Biblical Studies (minor in Psychology) My professor Nick Tomeo is wonderful. He was a youth minister for a while so he is great at teaching communication skills for life and more specifically in ministry.
    Have a great day girls!

  5. Thanks so much! Life is so much richer when we our lives are an outpouring of Christ in us. I want to wake up everyday what this on my mind. I simply need to remember, that I am not alone, He is IN me. I think that when I remember the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me, then pray become a little bit more natural.