Our 4th day was an opportunity to reach out beyond the Tracks and serve elsewhere in the country of Guatemala. As we traveled a scenic pathway, we saw the culture and beauty of Guatemala. It’s a country of volcanoes, vast vegetation, architecture, and rural life. On past missions we had visited small and large orphanages, friends of David, feeding centers, small towns, Lake Atitlan (considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world) and even the black sands along the Pacific Ocean.

serving lunch in San Antonio La Paz
serving lunch in San Antonio La Paz

Today we went to the village of San Antonio La Paz to visit a lady and her husband who have spent their lives serving the Lord and providing food for local children during lunchtime encounters. They had pots boiling and a feast prepared for the young children. Our job was to set up the dining area, serve the meals and interact with the children. That act seemed very small on our part, but it was perhaps the only meal they received for the day. Children always bring smiles and it’s very touching to see how they always, it seems, want to take home food for their families. We also met a young lady, Karla, and her son who live right there on the property. David and one of his mission teams had built a house for Karla in the past. Small things always make a big difference, and it is heart-warming how the giving of a home and the serving of meals for hungry children make the world a little better place.

Using What God Gave You was our topic for this day’s devotional sheet, on blue paper to represent the Christian concept of baptism. Jesus’s final commission to his disciples was: “Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-19) Baptism is a symbol of faith and a full-body expression of the heart’s acceptance of Christ’s lordship. It is an outward public expression of your acceptance of Christ as your personal Savior and your willingness to confess your sins and commit to serving Him. Mark 16:16 says: “Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuse to believe will be condemned.” This was the challenge Jesus gave to his disciples as he told them to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 15:15), a reminder of our call to baptism and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus.

So, back to our topic for the day: Using What God Gave You. This devotion was an application of the previous day which called us to our SHAPE. It started with declaring God deserves our BEST! God calls us to be 24/7 disciples, even though we often fall short. My belief structure has always been around the idea of excellence. Because God has given me life and so much more, I want to present Him with the best I can offer in whatever I do. This means a conscious effort to prepare ourselves for any situation that God calls us to. Whether it be a student, a stylist, a preacher, a teacher, a salesman, a missionary or whatever, God wants us to be the best at whatever He calls us to be. There were many years of schooling, conferences, classes, hard work and effort involved in preparing for my life as a teacher and youth pastor, in my efforts to be the best for God. Also there will be more preparation in giving your best for God, for whatever you do in serving God. He deserves our best, and we should give it. If it means preparation, prepare yourself so God can receive your best. Everything you do should be to the glory of God.

In our devotion, our discussion went on with the question, Have you discovered your shape?” Have you assessed what gifts God has given you? Are you aware of your abilities to the skills and talents that God has blessed you with? You are NOT going to be good at everything; however, God doesn’t call you to be. He calls you to be faithful at whatever has been given to you. He considers your heart and your personality and uses them for his glory. And along the way you have experiences to learn from to further His Kingdom, so examine yourself to be able to serve him effectively and to the best of your ability. Always encourage others to follow their call and never assume that you know better than anyone else. God wants us to accept our shape and most of all; he wants to continually develop our shape to make a difference in our world. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” With God deserving the best, may the Word of God guide us in everything we do.

Now, we are halfway into our key questions, and they became very evident in each person’s reflections during our time in Guatemala. So, I ask of you who are reading this journey: are you reflecting on these questions in your daily environment? Is God showing himself through the events of the day? Are you blessed each and every day because of how you see God working in your world? Are you dealing with the small things (and large things) that break your heart and especially God’s? What are you learning about your life? Is scripture touching your thoughts? Are you sharing those thoughts in community? Most of all, are you grateful for the life God has given you? 1 Peter 2:9 states: You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are called to excel and give our best, we are called to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, we are called to service, and we give him the Glory.

We leave you with this thought on day 4: The problems and challenges of life are opportunities for personal growth and each of our experiences are best seen in the light. If for one entire day all you felt was gratitude, your life would miraculously change.

NEXT: The 5th Day of our Guatemalan Spiritual Journey

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