Have You Found Your Promised Land?
Our Promised Land Is Where Your Love And Pain Cross Paths And Stir Your Heart At the beginning of every year the Lord gives me a word that I believe reflects His emphasis for my life and our ministry for the coming year. This year the word is compassion, wonderfully defined by the prophet Isaiah:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." —Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:18-19
When Jesus stood in the synagogue in Nazareth hundreds of years later and read Isaiah’s words, He defined His ministry and mission. A mission of compassion for the poor, the brokenhearted, the imprisoned, the desperate and hurting.
As I thought about how to put compassion into action, I started thinking about the Promised Land—that place where God’s children have longed to be and fought to possess. A place where, ideally, compassion reigns.
First, I need to clear up a common misconception.
What does the Promised Land mean to you? A specific territory God set apart for His people? The book of Joshua tells us that after crossing the River Jordan, the Israelites entered the Promised Land—and then what?
Had they finally arrived at their destination? Crossing the Jordan and Promised Land are commonly used to mean going heaven or paradise. One dictionary defines it as: A longed-for place where complete satisfaction and happiness will be achieved.
What Happens When you Cross the Jordan? But what actually happened to the Israelites when they crossed the Jordan? Not peace and rest. They began a life of warfare! Of taking the land that had been promised and of learning to live in the Spirit and claiming the territory God gave them! It was hardly paradise.
Similarly, if you are a believer who desires to serve the Lord and have been stirred by the mission Jesus laid before us, then you have crossed the Jordan and have stepped into the Promised Land. Many believers just don’t realize it. Whether your desire is a deep, passionate longing or a mere thought that flits through your mind and needs to be recognized, I believe you are ready to discover your promised land. Your promised land is your sphere of influence. Where you work, live, and go about your life. In many cases, it’s where you are influencing people and representing the Kingdom of God without even realizing it!
What Do You Love? What is your passion? What are you involved in? Are there hobbies, activities, areas that involve helping or inspiring people where you can demonstrate God’s love? Where do you work? Do business? Are you involved in a company or organization that helps people outside the umbrella of your church?
Your promised land is where your love and pain cross paths and stir your heart. What draws your interest and rolls around in your mind because you can’t forget it? What breaks your heart or makes you cry for joy or sorrow, and gives you a burden and longing for relief? What needs do you see in the world that you long to fulfill? What problems do you need to solve? How can your time and talents bless others in the name of Jesus?
I have a feeling that some of you are out there serving, unrecognized, with little help, and could use some encouragement from believers. I want to encourage you. In fact, I would like to hear about what you are doing! It’s not that I think you need to be recognized so much, as that you need the support and encouragement of the Body of Christ. After all, we are all on the same team!
Please send me a note or fill out the form below and tell us about your ministry efforts. We would like to encourage you and set up a network of people who can help and support one another. We already encourage several partnering ministries (you can see the list HERE) and are eager to discover what other church members are doing!
Our intention is not necessarily bring your good works under the umbrella of Maranatha Chapel, but to identify what people are doing so others can help you and encourage you and pray for you.
Perhaps you haven’t recognized your promised land. God gave you the gift of life and specific gifts to be used for His kingdom. He has placed you in specific places and areas of influence for a purpose.
Begin praying today to discover your promised land, your personal mission in life, and we will continue this discussion. The Lord is stirring up my heart to move beyond our church walls even more than we have, to encourage believers to discover their ministries, wherever they are. The work of the Lord is not confined to church. It is an ongoing, everyday work that needs to march out of the pews and into the world—into the Promised Land that Jesus won back by dying on the cross—armed with a purpose and passion to take the Gospel wherever God leads us.