We invited our dear friend Mark to share a devotional he wrote for the guests and staff at Water Street Mission. I trust you’ll be as encouraged as I was in reading and studying it.
I recall the delight of seeing the expression on my granddaughter’s face when she saw a balloon for the first time. She laughed uncontrollably when I blew air into the balloon and then let it go. As it deflated it fluttered and danced around the room until it was empty again. I observe some practical applications from this visual. First, I need the breath of God to fill me so I can move, even dance, in his power. Apart from him, I cannot do anything of real significance. Second, the balloon was created with a purpose – to bring joy and laughter to those who see it. It does not matter if it is on display at a party, a county fair, or tied to the side rail of a hospital bed. Just like the balloon, I was created to lift the spirits of others and bring joy into any situation. Finally, when too much air is forced into the balloon (beyond its capacity) it bursts. A balloon is created with limits (boundaries) to how much it can contain before its intended design breaks down. God has created me with capacity as well. But many times I go beyond the limits he has established for me by filling myself with things like anxiety, performance, pleasures, or bitterness. I am grateful that my gracious and merciful God can restore me…unlike the balloon that burst.
Read: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-17; chapter 3
- Do you see the significance of man (Adam and Eve) being created in the likeness of God? What purposes do you see that God created into their very being as human beings?
- Did God set any limits/boundaries for Adam and Eve? What were the results of their choice to disregard these limits? Did their choice impact their purpose? If so, how?
- Are you experiencing the impact of any choices that you made to go beyond the limits God has established for you? If so, what are they? Have you brought these choices to God in confession so that you may be restored through his grace and mercy (forgiveness)?
Read: Esther 2:5-9, 15-17; 4:13-14; 8:1-8. Additional challenge – read the book of Esther
- Do you see any significance about the physical characteristics of Esther? How did God use these characteristics to accomplish his purpose? Did she possess any other characteristics that she utilized to accomplish all that God had planned for her?
- How did Esther reach her capacity without going beyond her limits? Did she accomplish her achievements on her own? If not, who else did she rely on?
- What do you think Mordecai meant in verse 4:14? Do you believe God is sovereign? Does he have a plan for our lives even in the worst of circumstances? How does your answer impact how you live?
- What kind of influence did Esther’s decision to risk her life have on others? How did the Jews benefit from Esther’s reliance on God? Who might receive a blessing in your life if you were to trust in God even when life is difficult?
- Are there any areas in your life where you have gone beyond your capacity? Have you processed these areas with anyone? Have you confessed these areas to God?
- Will you present yourself completely to God so that he may partner with you to accomplish His purposes through you? Who will you include in this decision for accountability and encouragement?
- Do you need to take some time each day to sit still and get to know God intimately? Are you being filled by God each day or by other things? Are there changes you need to make in these areas? If so, what adjustment will you commit to making in your daily life?