Jim McDonald is the founder and director of Meeting God in Missions. I encourage you to check out the MGM website for more information on what it is, why it’s there, and what it’s goals are.
One thing that Jim does is that he has daily morning devotions for each group that goes to the Dominican Republic. Generally speaking, each devotional is before breakfast, and comes out of a booklet provided by MGM.
Several things struck me while I was listening to the devotionals, and I wanted to share them here. The first point that struck home came on Monday, and again on Tuesday. And that is that God wants absolute surrender of me, of my thoughts, of my will. Not just a part, or even most. All. Everything. The entire enchilada. I wasn’t consciously holding back, but when I shifted to a “success” mindset, I lost sight of the relationship that God wants with me, and I held myself back from Him. I was looking for success, and that was first in my mind, not just being with God.
The second thing that “wowed” me was on Thursday. That’s when Jim made the point, “If success is important to you, you may be tempted to choose accomplishment over your relationship with God.” I covered that in a previous post, but suffice it to say that this is when I realized that I had indeed chosen success over relationship. That surprised me, because I thought that being a successful Christian was what it was all about. I had been saying for years that it isn’t works, but grace that brings us to God. But I never equated my quest for success with a works mindset.
Friday morning’s devotional brought a few points. First, “In order to be fed and be fruitful, we have to cling to the source of power.” Nothing really earth shattering, but I needed to be reminded to “cling to the source of power.” Not me, not my abilities, but to God alone.
Next was from the booklet. Each lesson had a “Key” at the end of the devotional, and the Key for this devotional was, “Fruit appears in your life when your motives are to bring Honor and Glory to God.” I have always wanted to bring honor and glory to God, but I think it was on my terms, using my abilities. Oops. there’s that darned “me” thing again…
Lastly from Friday’s devotional, I picked up the following from Jim: “Allow God to complete His work, and see how the fruit will come forth through you.” He was speaking of Matthew 7.16, “By their fruit you will recognize them,” and Gal 5.22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” I pretty much have those verses memorized, but their application to “allowing God” escaped me. I have worked so hard to be, I missed the forest for the trees. I missed the idea that it is God in me and working through me, and not my anything. Not my working hard, not my good intentions. The only action required on my part is to let go of myself and “let God.”
Because we were leaving very early on Saturday morning, our Saturday devotions came late on Friday evening. The final point God touched me with came from the booklet where I read, “Anyone that thinks he can simply begin meditating without praying for the desire and grace to do so will soon give up.” This lesson was about meditating on the Scriptures, and that is something I have seldom, if ever, done. I have had devotions for years, but meditate on what I read? Not so much. I think my devotions were more a duty, something I needed to do, and not as much something I did to hear God speak, and meditate on what it was He said. I’m still not much of a meditator, but I am praying that God give me the desire to become one.
Pretty much since at least my early teens I have gone to church camps and retreats and such. I have had “mountain top” experiences, wherein I have come back higher than a kite and totally jazzed to be what the Lord wanted me to be. But always those moments slow down and leave as everyday life creeps in and reality replaces the circumstances and situational experiences of the latest “God Moments.” This trip to the D.R. was not a mountaintop for me, and I don’t want it to have been such. I don’t want to be jazzed, excited, emotional. I want to be what God wants me to be. That’s all. I want to be in fellowship with Him, I want my relationship with Him to be my everything. I want His fruit to be in me, and to be evident through me. What I am excited about is this peace I have right now, just being His. And how cool is that?
Housekeeping note: I sense that a bit of a shift is coming for this blog site. Thus far I have chronicled my difficulties with, and spiritual journey regarding, the Dominican Republic trip. I probably have at least a couple D.R. posts left, but I think I will soon be moving more to just talking about my spiritual walk with God in general, with probably a few “non spiritual” posts thrown in “just because.” I gotta tell you, I have been loving this. It has been helpful for me to sit down and write my thoughts and impressions, and I am humbled and honored that anyone has been reading and commenting on what I have written. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! You have been fundamental to this process for me. Be certain that God has used you in my life. May God Bless you for this. Vaya con Dios!!