Hard Pressed Luggage: Nov 7th - 13th

This Week & Beyond...

Thank you Jesus for the absolutely wonderful weather you have been giving us this fall!!  It's November, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that has had the opportunity to mow their lawn!  Wow!!  The Bible tells us to enter His gates with thanksgiving and courts with praise.  It's makes for a great habit to give thanks as we start and continue throughout our days.  It can have quite an impact actually!  What are you thankful for today!?  Why don't you take a moment to tell the Lord!

Team Night #2!!
The last Sunday of this month, November 27th, will be our second team night of the year.  We will once again be meeting at the 36 McKenzie for a time of worship, prayer, and praise!!  You should have received an invite through planning centre, please respond as to your attendance at your earliest convenience!

While it won't be happening this month, I am praying about an alternate location.  A location a little bit bigger so we could invite more folks from Calvary.  Hmmmm, a loft or barn perhaps??  If you have any thoughts, drop me line!!

Prayer
Some stuff for us to keep in mind while praying this week:
- The team serving:  Rob - preaching, Jermey - leading the service, Greg - leading worship
- 2017 budget:  The 2017 budget will be handed out this Sunday, please make sure to pick one up and pray through it.
- Christmas banquet prep:  Pulling off the annual Calvary Christmas banquet is no small task.  I'm sure the team would more than appreciate every prayer you could throw their way!

Devotional...

Hard Pressed Luggage
by Steve Miller, Hillsboro, Missouri

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from 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. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)

I work as an English teacher in Asia. Because of this, our family makes the epic trek back and forth across the world almost every year. As you can imagine, the long journey is taxing for the six members of our family, trudging through multiple airports and spending long hours sitting in cramped spaces. That's really nothing, though, compared to the wear and tear taken each time by our checked luggage.

Although I'm not fond of standing in line with my shoes off and opening my bags to go through security, I've never had my ear or foot ripped off or my side gashed, as my suitcases sometimes do during our trips. I don't exactly know what goes on between the time I hand off our suitcases at the ticket counter and when we pull them off the baggage claim at our destination (and perhaps I don't want to). I assume, however, that it involves lots of weight and pressure as heavy bags are forced into and upon each other at odd angles by powerful conveyor belts. They undoubtedly find themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place, or testing what happens when you get in between the meeting of the irresistible force and the immovable object. Any appendages caught in the way get cracked or ripped off.

There are some serious similarities between what happens to suitcases and what happens to us in life. Unfortunately, this is true even for life in the church. Serving on the worship team or in other ministry positions can place you in harm's way. Have you had your soft-side gashed when broadsided by the rough edge of a hard-sided brother having a bad day? Or have your feet been cut out from under you by the inconsiderate criticisms of a concerned sister? Is there someone who always yanks your handle the wrong way? Do you have any cracks from bearing the weight of overwork, stress, illness, or persecution?

Life can ding us up physically, emotionally, and spiritually. God is aware of this. Jesus told us that offenses would come. The question is, when those offenses come, what will we do with them? Do we give them to God? Do we forgive? Do we entrust ourselves to Him to make sure we arrive safely and intact at our destination? As we suffer hurt and harm in life, and respond with trust and forgiveness, are we not tapping into the resurrection power of Christ?

When we travel, we like to strap a nylon belt around each suitcase before we send it off into oblivion. This offers extra girding just in case. Likewise, we should gird ourselves with the belt of truth, the promises of God from His Word that we believe and hold onto by faith when the enemy attacks us with lies.

Our suitcases and my guitar case all look fairly beat up from plane rides. But amazingly, they always do the job, delivering the socks, underwear, and other treasures we place inside them from one side of the world to the other. And although God promises that we will be abused in this life -- just as Jesus was -- He will certainly see us through to the other side. The container will be damaged somewhat, but the treasure inside will make it intact.

GOING DEEPER:
1. Has your own "jar of clay" gotten beat up recently? How do you handle such challenges?
2. The writer suggests girding ourselves with the belt of truth. How will this help sustain us over the long haul?