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April Motl Christian Blog and Commentary

April Motl

 

April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com

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Infertility awareness week is the last week in April.

In honor of that observance and to hopefully encourage one of you out there, we are giving away a copy of Waiting for God to Fill the Cradle: A One Month Devotional for Couples. There's thought provoking Bible passages, couple's discussion questions, and Scripture prayers to waiting-for-God-to-fill-the-cradle_edited-1encourage you during this waiting season.

From experience, we know waiting is hard. And waiting to have that little bundle of joy can take you and your marriage on some really intense roller coasters!

Leave a comment here and one random reader will be selected for this devotional. Blessings!

PS - we will be praying for you as you are on this journey! Join us for more encouragement at www.MotlMinistries.org, on emailfacebooktwitter or on pinterest.

Your Life Matters

YourLifeMatters
Life has a way of rolling along. Like a waterfall rolls into a river that rolls into a lake. One issue touches another, one thing propels various parts of us forward or backward, or perhaps holds us stagnant.

One of these “propelling” issues in life seems to be our concept of origin. If we are an accident, then our life and our choices hold only the value we assign to them. If our life was designed and created, then it holds a purpose that is beyond us, and therefore our life choices hold a significance that requires an anchor weightier than our momentary perspective provides.

Personally, I believe every life has been uniquely created by our loving heavenly Father and holds an eternal purpose. My life might not be “amazing” by the world’s standards and no one is going to write a memoir about me, but each day has been written in a book.

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. Psalms 139:16-18 NASB (emphasis added)

While nothing about me is fascinating enough to capture headlines, the Lord has caught each tear I ever cried and knows the number of hairs on my head (Psalm 56:8 and Matthew 10:30)

Knowing that my life was created and has a design changes the way I think about how I should live my life. Knowing that my Creator watches over me with more loving attention than anyone else spurs me on to devote my life to loving Him and His people. Ultimately, living our life out of the motivation of loving is obedience.

“The most important one (commandment),” answered Jesus, “is this:‘Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this:‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31 NIV

A life of purity and obedience is hard to obtain without first having a sense that your life has a divine purpose.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 NASB

A deep part of discovering God’s best for your life and living out your full potential is being dedicated to living obediently.

Time and time again, when I have sought to align my heart with the Lord’s agenda and followed Him, He has surprised me with blessings, beauty, hope, encouragement, love, and provision. But in the seasons when my identity and sense of purpose in Him were clouded, my steps lacked faith and my journey suffered.

Today, I have a squirming toddler on my lap. I thought I’d write before he got up. But here we all are and there’s joy in it for me. We couldn’t have children for nearly a decade. His life is a precious, surprising, miracle. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt his life holds a special purpose. Serving his growing up is now part of my special purpose. When he had tummy troubles early on in his little life, neither of us got very much sleep. My mind felt like it had been plunged into a permanent fog. Much of life just stopped. We were simply putting one foot in front of the other. But even in that, I knew God had called me to that season. There was purpose in it. And even in the most mundane tasks of washing diapers and getting up for the umpteenth time, I knew I was doing what the Lord had placed in front of me. And because His hand had placed it there, it mattered.

His hand has fashioned your frame. You matter. Your life matters. Your choices and obedience matter. I am praying that in all the little moments of your day the Lord would grace you with a sense of His purpose and calling.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 NASB

delight coverFor more Bible related encouragement to center your identity in Christ’s love and purpose, look into the Bible study: My Reflection in His Eyes – Seeing Yourself as God Sees You or the new devotional Daily His Delight: Living in the Light of God’s Love. Join Motl Ministries for more encouragement via  emailfacebooktwitter or on pinterest.

(This post comes from thoughts based on Eric’s Palm Sunday message.)

On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, " Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel." Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, "FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY'S COLT." These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him. So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him. For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him." John 12:12-19 NAS

Palm Sunday is usually a joyous day - kids reenacting the celebratory waving of palms and remembering the path Jesus walked to free us from our sins! Yet, as with all of life, there was more to the story than a simple surface glance would reveal.

The crowd that cheered Jesus was the same crowd that would demand His execution later that very week. It was a crowd that shouted His praises because they saw Him for who they wanted Him to be (and praised who and what they imagined Him to be), rather than who He really was. People’s expectations are a powerful thing. And when we force those expectations on God, attempting to manipulate Him to be something for us that He is not, we worship something less than God. The journey that pathway takes our hearts on leads to a destination of idolatry.

Consider the crowd celebrating Jesus on Palm Sunday-

  1. There were celebrity seekers - those who had heard about Lazarus raising from the dead and just wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus (John 12:12).
  2. There were king seekers - they thought Jesus was coming to usher in political freedom rather than spiritual freedom (John 12:13).
  3. There were miracle seekers - those who had seen Lazarus raised from the dead and were back for more brushes with the super-natural and the sensational (John 12:18)
  4. There were self/power seekers - the Pharisees were looking to “get somewhere” (John 12:19).
  5. There were Jesus disciples and true followers - they didn’t understand  everything that was going on, but their faith in who they knew Jesus to be fueled their love and devotion to Him regardless of all that swirled around them.

As followers of Christ we will probably identify with those in the crowd. And at different times and seasons in our walk, we will probably run the gamut of roles in this story. I confess there have been times when I sought Jesus because I wanted something. I wanted to see His hand work in a certain way in my life and prayed and prayed for it. I remember distinctly sensing Him deal with my issue of seeking Him for some thing rather than seeking Him for Him. Like the king seekers, many of us have probably found a passage in Scripture we expected to play itself out in our lives in a certain way, and were disappointed when the fulfillment of the Word came through a different venue. The king seekers knew the prophesy about the Messiah, they just couldn’t imagine how God was going to fulfill His word. We too can take Scripture and expect it to mean one thing, when the Lord has an entirely different plan. Some of us might come to Christ because of some big event and, like those who wanted Jesus for His celebrity status, we just joined the crowd because of the excitement and hype.

Interestingly, all those pretenses people came to Him with caused Him to weep.

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." Luke 19:41-44 NAS

We all have reasons and motivations for seeking Jesus. Thankfully, He has allowed me to come to Him imperfectly, and He has been faithful to work through my faulty, human thinking so that more and more, I come to Him just for Him and Him alone.

Where are you in the crowd?

Visit www.MotlMinistries.org for more encouraging resources....

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