Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Guest Post: Stephen Ministers Devotional

“The Lord himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid.”—Deuteronomy 31:8

Moses said this to Joshua when Moses was giving the leadership of the Israelites to Joshua. Moses would not get to go to the Promised Land, and he needed to know that Joshua would listen to God and make things right for the Israelites.

At this time Moses must have had many feelings of his own, but he was conscious of the fear and indecision that Joshua was feeling, because he had been there himself. So he gave Joshua the only advice that he needed.

I’ve heard this scripture verse many times over my advanced number of years. Until 2001 I believed it, but didn’t think it was earth-changing. Then Tom Kort used it as the text for his first sermon after 9/11/01. Suddenly, Moses’ words became very real for me.I clung to these words for many weeks. I typed this verse and taped it to the mirror in my bathroom, where I would see it every day. It was comforting.After many months, I didn’t look at it any more. Not because I’d memorized it, because I still have to read it either on paper or from the Bible. I can’t even remember where to find it in the Bible. I just know that this verse helped me see God in a different light: as a greater being who would always be there for me no matter what He sent my way.

I can imagine that with these words Moses could give up the disappointment he felt at not being able to go into the Promised Land, and Joshua could take on the leadership role with confidence that if God was with him, he could do anything. I watched on TV as volunteers searched for bodies and cleaned up the wreckage left behind 9/11 thinking how these words would give them strength at a time when most of them were falling apart.

But, as time went by I forgot those words still taped to my mirror.

Then in July 2007, I needed them for my own wreckage. My marriage of less than two years was not just falling apart, it had imploded. There was nothing left of the marriage or, for that matter, the man I’d married. I feared for my life. It was then that I not only started reading the scripture on my mirror, but I’d say a quick prayer afterwards and touch it. Between that, my Stephen Minister, my family and Alice I made it through the next year. I needed the reminder that God would always be there and that I could do everything that I needed to do to get through the turmoil so that I could lead others to this God of strength.

I knew then that I wanted to be a Stephen Minister. So I chose this scripture as my personal scripture and I share it and its power for me to all of my care-receivers. Whenever I go to meet a new Care Receiver, I wonder what I have that God has decided I should share with this particular person. I wonder, as Joshua must have wondered, if I can do the job God has called me to do. Yet, I read this scripture, and I know that He will give me whatever I need as long as I listen for that little voice. It’s not that I feel invincible. It’s not that I don’t ever think, “Why me?” It’s just that I know in every bone of my being that I can do whatever God sends my way as long as He is in every bone of my being.

This post was first written as a devotional for Stephen Ministers by Sardis member Andi Spear. A Stephen minister is a volunteer who goes through extensive training to serve as a counselor to help when members of our church family are going through times of struggle. If you would like to learn more about receiving care from a Stephen minister, or how you can become a Stephen minister, contact Rev. Alice Johnson.

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