Servanthood

Doing the big or little things for people is not just serving them, but ultimately it’s serving God.

“Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”

Matthew 25:37-40

Servanthood in Christ

I can be self righteous thinking my words on a blog or my voice on a podcast is much greater in the Kingdom than simply wiping my child’s bum.

Servanthood looks like loving the least. If you only serve to gain recognition then it’s more like selfish-hood not servanthood. I want to serve out of my love for Jesus because that’s where the blessing is.

Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” He asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

John 13:12-17

Holy Servanthood

There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God.” – Paul Washer

The more I understand how Christ served people the more I understand His love for them. “I did not come to call the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to repent], but sinners to repentance [to change their old way of thinking, to turn from sin and to seek God and His righteousness]” (Luke 5:32 amp). The more I accept my weakness the more I am drawn to God’s love.

When I understand God’s love, I feel loved, and when I feel loved I show love. Loving others despite how we feel about them, their circumstances or their belief systems. We can do this by seeing their need and asking God, is it I to meet that need for them today? If so, God show me how. As it’s through your love for me that allows me to show love for others.

Pray to be a good servant

Dear Jesus,
How difficult it is to simply serve others without judgment. Help me to learn to serve with a clean heart and with your loving lens. I need to see people – my family, neighbours, friends, community – the way you see them. Help me to meet the need of my own child. She has many needs. Too many to count. Help me to not see those needs as insignificant but as significant to serving your Kingdom. As your Word says, “whatever you did not for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 40:45). I repent of my need to be seen by others in order to serve. To be praised, admired or acknowledged by man rather than by you. For freedom comes from Christ alone and not by the approval of man (Galatians 1:10).
Amen

God’s Power over My Plans

God’s power over my plans – if only I really knew what had God planned for me… Then I wouldn’t have to come up with so many “ideas” for Him! Haha…

This verse humbled and reminded me to refocus my mind’s attention to the power of God over the stress of my own plans.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

There is greater power in God’s Plans than our own…

Mission Central’s Virtual SERVE Conference will showcase missional interviews during the broadcasts, which I am MC’ing. So, I got a sneak peek at a few of them already. It was very uplifting to hear the ways God is moving through people during this pandemic. Also, to hear their own stories and passion for God in their own lives and the lives around them. I watched three videos and all three spent time talking about the importance of loving their neighbours and making time to foster community. Especially around studying the Word and sharing the Gospel. Even with the pandemic, they were able to start new ministries, lead people to Christ and love on their community.

It’s less about us and more about God

In the beginning of 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the importance of the Spirit of God in Him and less about his own words or human wisdom. But simply, God and His Spirit. So that our faith may not rest on man’s wisdom, but on the power of God (1 Cor 2:5).

God’s Power has greater plans

God will move in unexpected ways. Yet, still bring extraordinary opportunities to witness and share His love. While watching these mission interviews, my faith grew. God had moved in these people’s lives because they were simply seeking Him. Less worried about the future of the pandemic and more concerned with the present sate of their faith. Allowing room in their heart to be led by God in whichever direction he chose.

“no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined…”

If we truly believe this verse, then we are praying with faith that God will answer. Not in our own expectations of how we think he should answer – but in ways that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined…” All because he loves us and has the best for us. This means He might (most likely will) move in unexpected ways we didn’t plan for.

Comparing David and Goliath to The Hunger Games

The first heroic act we see from David, in the book of 1 Samuel, is his “volunteer for tribute”. Yes, a Hunger Games reference. He asks King Saul to voluntarily fight against Goliath. The reason for the one-on-one fight is whoever wins will have victory for their nation. All the men in Israel were fearful of Goliath, except for David. He bravely volunteered to fight Goliath. Telling the King, “let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:32).”

Katniss and David both Volunteer to Fight

In The Hunger Games, the main character, Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place to compete in the “Games”. The competition is a fight to the death against other teenagers from twelve districts to be the last one standing. Each competing teenager is chosen at random because no one would volunteer to fight for their own potential death. But when Katniss witnessed her sister be randomly selected, she protected her by volunteering for her spot. David also protected his family – the nation of Israel by volunteering for their spot against Goliath.

Katniss and David both learned wild survival skills from their fathers.

Prior to fighting in the Games, Katniss, learned to hunt wild animals with her bow and arrow. Skills she learned from her late father. In comparison, prior to fighting Goliath, David worked in the fields herding sheep. He came across lions and bears that he would tear apart with his own hands to save his captured sheep. In the end both Katniss and David experienced perseverance through tough trials by simply providing for their family. Unknowingly, both were being trained up for a much bigger battle. In the end their experience led to their volunteer to fight and their victory to win.

However, unlike Katniss, David already had the knowledge that He would win because He trained from his Heavenly Father. As Christians we too are trained by our Heavenly Father. We rely on His strength not our own to win battles.

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

1 Samuel 17:37

Here is the difference – we are not fighting battles alone.

The key in Christian training is having a relationship with God – learning who He is from Him. This way in times of battle we go from knowing God to believing God. Even with Goliath’s threats towards David and mockery of his lack of “amour”, David’s faith stayed strong. He says to Goliath, “the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hand (1 Samuel 17:47).” And he did.

Conclusion

In comparing David to Katniss, I choose to be like David. As he goes into the fight remembering it’s God’s battle to win. The glory always goes to God. We are His sheep and He is our good shepherd. Confidence in our Heavenly Father means boldly volunteering for tribute – if it means bringing glory to God.

Marriage vs. Singleness – is one better than the other?

Marriage vs. singleness are they at odds? This is a great topic to discuss because the Bible outlines so many different situations or scenarios that people are in. In this post, I simply wanted to start with one verse in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 where Paul touches on marriage and singleness. Paul says both are a gift from God. So let’s ask the question, when it comes to marriage vs. singleness – is one better than the other? What does the Bible say?

In 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul, who remained unmarried, talks about his own singleness and how he wishes more would remain single as he. Simply because of the work he did for spreading the Gospel message. He had no restraints other than his own devotion to the Lord. Of course that is his own bias opinion. But what he teaches after is the main focus I believe he wants us to hone in on. Let’s read the verse and discuss why marriage and singleness are not at odds with one another but each its own gift from God.

It’s a gift.

1 Corinthians 7:7 : “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”

Paul said each has its own gift from God; like spiritual gifts differ within the body of Christ so does marriage and singleness differ within the body of Christ. Each gift has its own purpose and plan designed specifically by God. Also, we are not about to tell you which is best for you, as the Bible outlines very clearly its up to the individual and God. There is no more importance in having a spouse than staying celibate and single. Each is it’s own gift from God, which means, each has a divine and important purpose in itself.

However, situations between persons may differ. If a single person is unable to resist their urge to stay celibate than its best for them to be married. As sexual intimacy must stay within the marriage bed as it is a spiritual union not just a physical one. 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

Find Contentment over Resentment

Paul is happy that God has given him the gift of being content with remaining unmarried. Since this permits single-minded devotion to the Lord’s work. The key word here is “content”. Comparing our situation to our neighbours is a dangerous slope for our mind and our faith. If we start to view our situation as resentment and not find contentment we will be in competition with one another and not in unity. We must use our gift to see that its good. A gift is something to be used, admired, and thought highly of; especially a gift given by God!

Marriage vs. singleness – is one better than the other?

So, what is it then, one vs. the other? Would you say when it comes to spiritual gifts like prophecy or teaching one is better than the other? Paul says view marriage and singleness both as “gifts” and what do we know about “gifts”? In Romans 12:4-6, Paul says: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.

I do want to make clear that this post is not talking about if you are currently single that means that’s your purpose forever. Its simply stating that one is not better than the other – but each are a gift from God. Your gift can change into marriage one day. It is more about what we do now with our gift that matters, allowing God to take care of our future in His awesome plans for us.

Live as you are called… in this moment.

Paul continues in, 1 Corinthians 7:17, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.”

Pursue what gift God has given you today. If that’s marriage – pursue that in a Godly way, if that’s singleness – pursue that in a Godly way. Lets see our “relationship status” as a gift from God’s amazing grace. So we don’t lose sight of His bigger purpose which is making Himself known through us to the world.

God is Merciful

God is merciful – saving us even when we least expect it or don’t expect it at all. How quick we are to forget the blessings of God or ignore God’s hand over our lives when we fear our circumstance.

In Egypt, Pharaoh finally set the Israelites free from slavery due to the power and mercy of God through Moses and the ten plagues. They left Egypt to pursue their freedom. Upon their journey God shared with Moses His plan to rescue them once again. The Lord told Moses to lead the people of Israel through the wilderness to reach the sea. As their pursuit for freedom was not finished. Pharaoh and his hosts are coming after them. However, the Lord assured Moses that He would win over Pharaoh.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.

Exodus 14:1-4

In this passage we see God sharing His plan with Moses. The Egyptians are on their way to pursue and bring back the Israelites as slaves. But the Lord will have glory over Pharaoh and save the Israelites. This is all the information we get. No details as to how God will save them at the sea, just that He will. This is when I think of times when God gives me a plan without much detail. I know I have to trust Him anyway. But the Israelites were scared and lacked any trust! Once they saw the masses of angry Egyptians on their trail they trembled in fear. I would too if I was led through the wilderness and to the sea without a Noah-built-size-arc waiting for me.

The Israelites’ circumstantial fear trump their fear in the Lord.

The Israelites cried out to God and to Moses. They said, “is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? (Exodus 14:11)”. The Israelites’ fear in their circumstance overshadowed their fear in the Lord. Even though the Lord said He will get glory over Pharaoh. The Israelites are viewing their circumstances without reference to the fact that the Lord brought them there.

Trust in God for He is merciful to see His plans through.

God rarely gives us details of how His plans will unfold. But that doesn’t mean we stop trusting Him. The Israelites had proof already of God saving them through the signs and wonders that brought them out of Egypt. Yet, they chose to ignore those signs and feared their current circumstance instead. They were given plenty of good reasons to believe God would save them. How quick we are to forget the blessing we’ve already received.

Crossing the Red Sea – How God Saved the Israelites.

In the next few verses to follow, Exodus 14: 15-18, the Lord again reassures the Israelites. He repeats to them that He will get glory over Pharaoh, “and the Egyptians shall know that I am Lord“. The rest of chapter 14 explains the miraculous power of God controlling the red sea by splitting it half. So the Israelites have dry ground on the sea bed floor to walk through. The lord then closes the sea once all the Egyptians have entered, sweeping them up, not one remained. Then in Exodus chapter 15 the Israelites sing a song to the Lord in praise and worship! They have been saved and finally set free!

God is Merciful

God shares His plans but leaves out the details – not to harm us but to protect us. We learned about the Israelites’ fear in their circumstances and not in the Lord. I want to be more fearful of the Lord that my first response is to thank God for His plans not to doubt Him because of my circumstances. Through all the fear and doubt swarming over the Israelites, God’s plan to save them still prevails. He rescues them by parting the Red Sea and destroying their enemy. God is merciful. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts, and His plans higher than our plans! We just need to trust Him.

 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,
“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
    the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Exodus 15:1-2

God’s Plans

I have been reading Genesis and what amazes me is how God prevails His plans. Even when evil arises and people are disobedient – God’s plans still prevail. It makes me think of my own life in how I tend to fear the “what ifs” of my own plans. Instead I need to think of “what is”, which is God already going before me and working out His plans for my good. So my life’s “story” becomes a life’s testimony of who God is! He redeems, restores, saves, loves and is merciful.

Faith in God’s plans never fails because He has what’s best for us.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Game plan with scripture – learn the promises of God.

  1. God gives me strength when I am weak – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  2. Prayer relieves my unbelief – Mark 9:23-25
  3. Every opportunity teaches me to persevere and draw near to God – Romans 5:3-5
  4. God works out everything for good – Romans 8:28
  5. I trust in God, He gives me the desires of my heart – Psalm 37:4

God’s plans will always be better than whatever we can dream of.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Pray

Thank you God for wanting and knowing what is best for me. I pray for belief to take over my unbelief. May you guide me to learn to seek you with all of my heart. I pray for faith to increase over my fear. Thank you for the plans I have yet to see and thank you that it has already worked out for my best! Amen.

First Love

Ephesus separates deeds from love: Revelation 2:1-5

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Revelation 2:1-5

The book of Revelation

Revelation is a hard book in itself to explain as there are many symbols to unpack. For example, in this passage the word “lampstands” refers to a Christian church. The author of this book is the Apostle John who receives a very symbolic vision from Jesus. In this vision Jesus warns 7 different churches. I want to highlight his first warning to the church of Ephesus.

The warning to the church of Ephesus

Jesus commends the church of Ephesus on their good deeds, perseverance, work ethic and endurance. Yet, in verse four, His warning is that they’ve abandoned their love they once had for Christ. The kind of love Jesus refers to is the Greek word, Agape. Agape is the meaning of the highest form of love; love for God and his Son (Jesus), for Gods people, each other and even enemies. Jesus then tells the church to repent because they cannot have good deeds without love (agape).

Good deeds and love must work together – you cannot have one without the other

In writing this I find myself relating to the church in Ephesus. I could easily be writing, and recording from selfish reasons, treating it as a good deed or a task to check off the list. Doing “good deeds” will have a positive effect on peoples lives regardless of motives, but to what end? I want my writing to flow from a place of love for God, so people can experience His love through it. Let’s face it, I ain’t much of a writer, but I am a lover of Jesus. I am devoted to writing because it keeps me accountable to learning God’s word. This increased knowledge of Him returns in me loving Him more!

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

2 Peter 3:18

Good deeds are a natural outpouring from your love of Christ

Just like the Ephesus church we can take our first love for granted. We are all guilty of sin and we tend to judge ourselves and each other about how ‘good’ we appear. But only God knows man’s heart (Proverbs 21:2). Good deeds don’t earn us eternal life, Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. His blood for our sins. I thank God that my faith is not based upon what I can do but based on what Christ has already done. I have a freedom in him despite my sin and imperfections. Staying true to learning Gods word will help us refocus our hearts back to that first love.

Remember who He is in you, reflect on the cross, repent of your sin, and love Him first because He first loved us.

We love because he first loved us

1 John 4:19