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

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.

Poop, Potty and Perseverance

The blog was on a hold due to some pressing matters… poop, potty and perseverance. My daughter tuned two in September. Prior to her birthday, I spent time gearing up in learning how to potty train. I bought two books and powered through each chapter thinking, “my kids got this”. Day six, and I told my husband, “I want to ram my head into the wall”. My lack of patience took over any hope for perseverance.

As I started to back off my intensity of training, teaching and telling my daughter how GREAT the potty is, I noticed a change. Particularly in me. I noticed how before I lacked any peace because I wanted to avoid the suffering part. This is what I learned, not just about how scary poop is to a toddler, but more about perseverance and how there needs to be suffering to get to hope.

Fear of Suffering

Touchy subject because this is not fun, light, encouraging or something we look forward to. Yet, it’s inevitable, part of life and present in our lives at times. Witnessing my daughter be scared of the potty, refusing to use it because of the unknowns, shocked me. I kept thinking, if only she knew how much BETTER it will be once she uses it then the fear will leave. Then I thought, how hypocritical I am to say that. My husband and I are too facing unknowns as we plan to change jobs, cities and re-schedule our lives. Many times I look to God in fear. Assuming I know better in my comfort than He knows in my future. Its no different than my daughter crying out for her diaper, because its all she knows – that’s her comfort zone.

However, now she is confident in her ability to use the potty. I witnessed her growth in a short time period due to her perseverance through suffering. I too must face my fear to persevere. Even when it feels outside of my comfort zone.

Joy of Persevering

Without suffering there is no training in perseverance. Once we train in perseverance we grow more hopeful in Christ. I am hopeful in Christ because He saved me from death itself. I am joyful in my suffering because I grow closer to the suffering of Christ. Who sacrificed His life, died and rose again to save me, a sinner. That hope, resurrection and redemption lives in all of us who believe in Him. There is no greater hope than Jesus Christ. He is where the joy is.

Hope of Persevering

In times of suffering we need to visualize our minds and hearts onto Jesus so we don’t quit. The time frame is irrelevant because our hope is not found on earth, its in heaven.

My hope of my daughter using the potty was set on “day 3” of training… a little TOO ambitious and unrealistic of a goal. But I really wanted perfection not mere progress. How unfair of an expectation to assume of my child. I’m so glad that God, our heavenly father, is more interested in our spiritual growth as progress and not perfection. In some sense *figuratively speaking of course* I’m still potty training in many aspects of life. To step out of our comfort zone is the beginning of growth.

I’ve heard of faith like a muscle – use it or lose it. So whatever we face now is an opportunity to grow our faith muscles. Growing in likeness of Jesus, the original trail blazer.

My daughter will forget these weeks – but doesn’t mean she won’t face it again in other areas of her life. If I want her to persevere in life as a kid, teen and adult – I need to train her up in knowing who suffered to save her, Jesus, our only path to hope.

Perseverance looks like Jesus

We all face unique situations a part from each other. But where we come together in unity is through our knowledge and love for Christ. Our hope found in Him. This is how we encourage one another through suffering. Hope in Christ.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:1-8

Turning to God in the face of Unknowns

The heaviness of unknowns lurk into the next season and it’s weighty. Many of us feel the same weight. As Covid-19 progresses, or stays the same, the unknowns in how to walk it out remains. Some of us are sending our kids to school in fear. Some of us have big life changes looming with fear. All are valid fears. But then I heard of a life near to us that was on the line. The weight of surviving life or death became much more desperate in terms of unknowns. For me, it brought into perspective of how little we know about the trajectory of our lives.

This is what we train for: to have faith despite the unknowns we face on earth. Since earth is temporary to our eternal home in heaven. So, instead of stressing over the unknowns we must think about what we do know. Christ in us for us.

Unbelief into Belief

In Mark chapter nine, a father brings his demon possessed son to Jesus. Asking him, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “if you can?! All things are possible for one who believes.” Then the boy’s father confesses to Jesus that he has some faith but acknowledges that he is spiritually weak. Then he appealed to Jesus to create in him a heart that believes more firmly. He said,Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” And Jesus healed his son who had an unclean spirit (Mark 9:14-29).

Pursuing life faithfully is a mental battle we must prepare for everyday. Scripture is not just a book with cool stories, its a life line of hope. We learn from the boy’s father who knew Jesus was the Messiah but not sure if he could heal his boy. It’s the half truth we have of Jesus. Yes, I know you’re good God – but I don’t trust you. Without scripture we become lost in our knowledge and understanding of God. Thus, the only way to overcome our anxiety is through fellowship with God by prayer and reading His Word.

Fear into Faith

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6

Every morning I wake up and grab my journal and my Bible. I start my day writing out my prayers, making my requests known to God. I end my prayer with thanksgiving, because I acknowledge and remind myself who it is I am praying to. The Almighty God who was, is, and is to come. The same God who spoke directly to Moses guiding the Israelite’s to the promised land (despite their constant sin and setbacks). The same God who sent Jesus to die for me and bore my sins. I am praying to the God who formed me in my mothers womb. Who knows me better than I know myself. I pray because it turns my fear of unknowns into faith of being known by God.

Unknowns into Known

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

A big part of releasing my anxious thoughts and feelings is through prayer. The peace that comes upon me after I pray is a reassurance that God is with me. He guards my heart and mind like a solider guarding his own territory. As Christians, we can entrust all our unknowns and difficulties to the Lord, who rules over all creation and who is wise and loving in all His ways (Romans 8:31-39). Therefore, having an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving contributes directly to inward peace.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Suffering into Strength

There is no doubt that we will suffer and struggle in our faith because we are up against an enemy that is unseen, but seeks to devour our joy in Christ. Causing a heightened anxiety in us because we are fighting between two voices. A voice elevating our pride to worry and another voice humbling us to submit and pray. We must learn how God speaks to discern what is true.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6-11

In midst of your unknowns on earth,
recite and believe what you know in Christ!

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.

Strive to Serve God

In the moments of chaos I need to serve God. In the moments of perfectly-executed plans I need to praise God. Each moment is a chance to serve God and it is better for us to strive to serve than to strive at all.

Striving for our own earthly desires.

I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 1:14

We strive, strive and strive. Putting our head down and we work, work and work. In our own efforts we grind, grind and we grind. Only while to complain, complain and complain. All for more of what someone else has – we circle back. Never satisfied. Striving for our own earthy successes and pleasures.

Serving for the glory of God.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
 Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 37:3-6

We serve, serve and serve. Looking up (posturing our hearts to heaven) we work, work and work. In His strength we rejoice, rejoice and rejoice. All for something beyond ourselves. We circle back to Him, who started a good work in us and will finish a good work in us. Serving for Gods gift of eternity and joy in simply being His.

What’s more important is what we’re striving for.

The word “strive” is not a bad word as it means to “make efforts to achieve or obtain something”. However, the focus is about what we are striving for… our own good or for God’s good?

For example, I tend to over-think when I am planning. I overthink the negative and how I am going to plan around IF that occurs. It’s a type of striving to prevent myself from failure. Making efforts to achieve a good time! But, no plan is perfect and not everyday goes as predicted. So when the unexpected happens… how do I respond? I may easily crumble under the pressure and the overthinking becomes overwhelming as my plans fail.

Our greater purpose is hidden in serving God.

This is where I need to shift from striving for my own gain to serving for God’s glory. Yes, making plans and being prepared is a good thing! I still make plans and do the best with what I know I can control. However, when it fails, can the plans still be good? Yes, there are opportunities already made for us that we cannot control. Having the mind of Christ and perspective of serving God will help increase our awareness of Him in our days.

Our mandate as Christians is not based on what we have done on earth. Its about simply believing what Christ has already done! This is the starting hope we need to have each morning. So our efforts of living righteously is based upon our focus in Christ. This way our life is not vain and our striving efforts to serve God make an impact on the people around us.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Titus 2:7-10

Fear of what ifs Vs. Faith of what is

The Battle

I’m not going to fool anyone by saying, “I figured out how to live by faith not fear!” But, I will say, “I’m trying to figure out how to live by faith and not fear”. It’s a continual process and part of being human. Did I mention, I am a mother? Fear is going to be part of raising children. You want them to succeed, avoid danger or avoid any emotional or physical hurt at all – BAH!!! However, life throws hard “stuff” that we aren’t always ready to catch and is impossible to avoid. So, if I want faith to win over fear then I need to understand who’s leading the battle of both. Then with the knowledge of both I can decide (with confidence) why fighting for faith is worth the battle.

The Faith Team – Led by God

Who is God? Well that’s a big question because He’s pretty big, so I’ll attempt to write simply about Him. God is 3 persons in 1 God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), omnipresent, creator and ruler of the world. What about His character? God is just, mighty, love and compassionate. Lastly, God is truth and He made promises for us in the Bible. What are some that I can lean on to bring me faith not fear? God promises eternal life to all who believe in Jesus Christ and repent of their sin. As a Christian and believer of Jesus I do not fear death. God promises He will help me and give me strength. I do not fear my own weakness. He promises He is always with me. I do not fear being alone. God says don’t be anxious about anything. I do not fear my own worries!

What is life with God vs. What is life without him.

Life with God means believing scripture is the truth and being obedient to what He says. I read my Bible because it leads my life and without it I am choosing to live without Him. I want real truth to lead my life so I need to know what He says “is”.

VS.

The Fear Team – Led by Sin

Who is sin? Wait isn’t this a good guy vs bad guy, obvious scenario? Well, if I wrote “the Devil” than yes it would be. No one generally wants to be on the Devil’s team. But writing “sin” is more complicated because the Devil cannot make us sin, but he can tempt us to. So sin can seem desirable, enjoyable and an inviting team. Its a war against our flesh and spirit. So what is sin? Well, simply explaining best I can, sin is anything we idolize above God. For example, its what we do, think or act upon what God hates or does not like. Hmm, that can be a long list, considering we are not perfect. So if sin is evident in us, then how do we fight against its team?

We need to know its strategy…

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

James 1:14-16

Sin is deception

Our culture says truth is anything you believe in your heart is true! Where are the boundaries of good and evil in that? The sin team says, “if you say its good than its good! But fear lives in that because you can never know if that’s really true… so fear is still lives in the, “what if it’s not good for me?” Sin makes false promises to make you think you know better than God.

The sin team says, “do your best in whatever makes you happy!” But fear lives in that too because how do you know what truly makes you happy? Where does happiness come from?! If sin can make you feel “happy” but called evil in the Bible… why do I enjoy sin and sometimes I don’t?

Sin is satisfaction in the moment but detrimental for the long game.

Sin leaves us with no certainty of joy. It’s a hopeless promise into…. “what if” and when your life is on the line that’s just not enough to trust.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 2:15-17

What team do you trust?

I want to join a team I know I can trust, believe with certainty and helps me mature righteously. Not one I make up on my own. I don’t trust myself… I’ve made a stir-fry once with oyster sauce as its base instead of hoisin sauce. The over saltiness of my dinner was unbearable to eat, a funny example of how I am untrustworthy to lead myself. Living as salt of the world is no good when it loses its essence to enhance flavor – its useless (Matthew 5:13). I am destructive and useless in my own flesh and in need of God who can lead me by His Spirit.

THUS, here is the battle…

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:17

Our flesh (mortal beings) vs. our spirit (eternal beings) are at war. We must set our mind on things above and trust in the Word of God that is true. So God’s word can be the forefront of our mind and not the world’s ideas and falsified fads of “what’s happy this season” which gives no certainty of joy or eternal peace.

The Bible keeps me away from the destruction of my own sin. I read to understand and have a greater knowledge of He who I am following. This in turn renews my mind which gives me peace and joy in my life. Verses fear, which suffocates me – feeding me lies that the joy is in my control or found within me. Thus, there is freedom in faith – which says, its not in your control but by the grace of Jesus Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

Fighting with Faith

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12

What we can control, as Christians, is our faith and how we choose to fight on its team! Each and everyday is an opportunity to renew our mind. It starts through our knowledge of Christ so we can become more like Him who blazed the trail before us.

Lead me God, show me where I lack faith so I can remove the lie of fear that my flesh wants to believe.

Race like You Mean it

A Poem by: Emily Aspinall

How I am to drive, starts and ends with Him.
Every thought and action with every limb.

In-between it all, I choose to follow.
For a victory that is not hollow.

Painted lines on course, keeps me on the straight.
Although narrow, it secures my end fate.

Yet many will not make it, I still race.
Set backs, I pit stop, to recharge my pace.

Never giving up, I drive for the prize.
Already obtaining it keeps me wise.

In passion and fear of going off course.
Like good engineering, He fuels my force.

In control, suited up, I drive with ease.
I’m racing for Him who qualifies me.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27