Stand Firm - The Work of the Lord!
“If you want to identify me," he says to the British officers who are questioning him, "ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for. Between these two answers you can determine the identity of any person." 
Thomas Merton makes a succinct statement about big picture living. He is dealing with two big questions: What am I living for? What stops me from living for these things? He makes the case that those who understand the big picture live resilient lives: they deal with the biggest picture of the things they hear God speaking to them about. Paul made this clear when he emphasised that looking forward in hope is the key to big picture living and those that live without 5 the big picture are people who are tossed back and forth by the waves. 
Gordan McDonald7 makes six observations about people who understand this big picture view of life. He says:
(1) They have a sense of life direction;
(2) They foresee the great questions of one’s life journey;
(3) They cultivate Christian character;
(4) They listen to the call from God;
(5) They are confident in who they are;
(6) They live generous lives.
In this way resilient people understand there will be change and they prepare for it by developing themselves in line with scripture. They recognise when they hear God speak and they can act on it because they are confident about their life ‘in Christ’ and from this generosity pours out.
Are you living with the Big picture? Ask yourself the questions penned above: What am I living for? What stops me from living for these things?
REFLECTION & STUDY
In a succinct statement ask and answer: What am I living for? What stops me from living for these things?
Describe your own life journey in a few key words. What were/are the ‘big picture’ moments?
READ: Acts 26:1-23. Reflect on Paul’s life journey and consider the moments where he was resilient to the call placed upon his life. What situations could have prevented Paul from giving himself fully to the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58)?
Discuss and reflect on ‘the work of the Lord’ - How are things working out? Are there areas of your life where you need support, training or encouragement?
Using Psalm 90: 1-2, 17 as a basis for a prayer about big picture living:
1. PRAY prayers of thanksgiving (Ps. 90:1) for the sense of being at ‘home’ with God or the
profound understanding and sense that God is a ‘safe haven’ -“our dwelling place”.
2. ‘Before the mountains were born...’ (v.2) In a silent moment consider the ‘big picture’ -
ask God to help you with your understanding of your place in him and in his kingdom.
3. PRAY for the work of your hands (v.17) ask for God’s favour to ‘rest’ on all that you do.
IDEAS FOR FAMILIES
This section provides a few ideas for families to engage with the ‘Week of Prayer’ material. It acts as a guide for you to develop with your family as appropriate.
TO TALK ABOUT: Knowing which way to go by noticing the signs!
On the way to school or when out for a walk start to notice road signs as you walk and talk. What do they mean? Explain that Jesus will provide us with clear guidance when we ask for it.
Talk about a time when Jesus provided you with a clear sign or guidance about something. Ask the children what they think about Jesus who does this? How does he do this?
Remind the children that Jesus is the source of our help and the children can ask Jesus all the time about what to do. We do this by praying!
ACTIVITY (Optional): Recall some of the signs that you can remember seeing. Could any of the signs help you walk with Jesus? e.g a stop sign to remind you to stop doing something wrong.
TO THINK ABOUT: The way Jesus chooses to speak to us - through people, situations etc.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for your help in keeping us going your way.
 M. Pennington, Thomas Merton: Brother Monk (Harper & Row, 1987)
 Phil. 3:13-14
 Eph. 4:14
 G. McDonald, A Resilient LIfe, (Thomas Nelson, 2004)
PBC Week of Prayer 2020
Thursday 2nd - Wednesday 8th January 2020