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

The Known Path of Jesus

You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Psalm of David.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

The KNOWN Path

Despite our physical and earthly unknowns – God makes His path of life KNOWN. What is this path that David is talking about? It’s the path of following Jesus. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus says its not an easy path rather it’s narrow and hard and few will find it. But it leads to eternal life. The easy way is a wide path which seeks the approval of man rather than God. So to have confidence in this KNOWN path of God – we must follow Jesus with our lives. Regardless if its hard, because it will be. Thinking of a narrow path there is only one direction I can walk, straight. In a wider path there is so much room to roam I may actually start walking sideways or backwards, losing my sense of direction completely. I choose to follow the narrow path, where it keeps me directly inline with Jesus, the original trail blazer.

Fullness of Joy

This brings me to the second part of the verse, where David says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” So, not only is the path guarantee life for us, although hard, there is still a fullness of joy. Where is this joy found? In His presence! Where is His presence? It’s in us who believe in Him! I can receive the joy of Christ where ever I am or whatever I am doing because His spirit lives in me. By believing and accepting Jesus as my Savior I no longer fear which path to take. Instead I make a commitment to the KNOWN path that promises a fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. This brings me great peace because its not by my own strength that I must follow. It’s the Lord’s strength that goes before me and guides my steps. I have joy in knowing His presence is always with me.

I am Encouraged by the Known Path of Jesus

My husband and I have no idea where we will live or work come next year. We are facing so many unknowns about our own lives currently that this verse brings me great comfort. To know that my joy is not found in a location or in a job but its found in Jesus. His presence with me anywhere I am. Praise God for the narrow path, although hard to see (physically) where it leads, (spiritually/mentally) I know its good for me.

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

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

Lifted Hands

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”

Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

Exodus 17:8-16

Being used by God

So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.

Exodus 17:9

Verse, Exodus 17:9, I was interested in the significance of God using Moses’ staff. Why is Moses’ staff “a thing” God uses? First we understand that Moses was a shepherd, his staff was part of his everyday – the tool of his trade.

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff”, he replied.

Exodus 4:1-2

Whenever God is asking someone a question in the Bible we have to stop and think, why? God knows everything – what was, what is and what is to come… so why does He ask questions?

Two points come to mind when I think of God asking questions:
1. Relationship – God wants dialogue because He is a relational God
2. To highlight a point – there is something deeper He wants us to learn

Throughout Exodus 4:3-9, God performs miraculous signs with Moses’ staff to demonstrate His power. God used what Moses already had, which changed purpose but kept the same function. God called Moses from shepherding sheep to shepherding people.

What we learn from Moses is that God can use you in your current state. You don’t have to wait for anything additional to contribute to the kingdom of God. God wants to use whats already in your hands.

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.

Exodus 4:10-12

Despite your doubt – God is with you.

God is not asking for your perfection, He is asking for your partnership.

What is in your hands?

Worshipping in times of battle

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

Exodus 17:10-12

Lifted hands (“hands”) is mentioned quite a bit in this passage. It got me thinking, when do I lift my hands? When I think of lifting my hands toward God I think of, “praise hands”. I think of church; being in an atmosphere of peppy tunes, dimmed lights and led by talented singers on stage. I think about dancing around in my kitchen, with my daughter, listening to worship music. But here in this passage, I am reminded that sometimes we base our worship upon our feelings rather than on our faith. The best time to worship is always; and especially when we don’t feel like it.

Posturing our body (in whatever way that looks for you – lifted hands or closed eyes, for example) helps bring our minds into worship.

Supporting each other towards God

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Exodus 17:12-13

Aaron and Hur came to Moses’ rescue – they didn’t say, “well you tried… too bad you got tired, next time bud!” No, they believed in God’s authority through Moses and did everything they could to keep Moses’ hands lifted. They supported Moses when he grew too tired to do it himself.

As a nation we too are in a battle – against Covid-19. We don’t know how long this virus will last or what the outcome will be. It is crucial that in this time of stress and sickness we become like Aaron and Hur who lift up their friend in need (figuratively speaking of course as we can’t literally hangout with our friends. But praise God for great technologies to still connect us!). We need to surround ourselves with friends that lift us up to God and be friends that lift others up as well.

Concluding Points

1. Moses was an everyday ordinary man and through God he became extraordinary – how can God do that through you? What is already in your hands?
2. Posture your body to set your mind on worship – the best times to worship is at all times

Hebrews 13:15, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
3. Pray and ask God to highlight someone in your life that needs to be lifted up

Eternal Hope

Three weeks since I have written, read my Bible and sat to spend time with the Lord. In the past three weeks I have experienced sickness, anxiety, prolonged eye twitches, a fun-filled-family vacation, SKIING for the first time and even more sickness.

Covid-19 has hit the world hard and its become a pandemic. Schools, businesses all shutting down to stop the disease from spreading. It has become crazy like a scene from a movie. Our government said to socially isolate. Stay home and to avoid public places and social gatherings.  We respect authorities and obey regulations as it is for our own benefit and the greater good for the world’s health (feels surreal to write that).

As a mom of a toddler, isolation was something I already was struggling with prior to the virus. I worked so hard to plan my weeks around mom groups, drop-in play times, bible studies and exercising at the gym. I was getting in a groove, finding my strength and “mom power” in my schedule. However, now in a immediate HAULT to all the scheduling and activities, we are stuck inside.

As I mentioned before it has been three weeks of not reading my Bible and as this quarantine is in play I have come to notice its effect. I have come to see how my scheduling in daily activities has become a greater hope in my life than the one of I have in Jesus. I am reminded (again) that spending time with Jesus is not a checklist for habit tracking, not just Sunday service, its a lifestyle. It’s an ongoing relationship with God, one that must be prioritized in our hearts above anything else.

So in this time of mandatory world isolation, as a Christian, how do I find contentment?

My contentment is no longer in my perfect scheduling, in my feeling of being a”fit mom”, “a productive mom”, or “a socially active mom”.  Instead, it’s in my pursuit of being a Godly mom. A mom that does not quit because her circumstances have changed or her fears of isolation has returned. Even if you are not a mom, your schedule has changed by working from home or by putting your plans on hold. As a believer in Christ I, once again, re-focus my hope back on Him – focusing less on my plans and more on His, because His plans are eternal.

I pray everyday for this virus to dissipate, dissolve, and stop completely – because I believe in a miraculous and good God. I pray for faith to lead and not fear. I pray that we draw near to God so He can draw near to us. I pray over those that are sick to be healed and to be restored back to full health.

In my negligence of prioritizing my relationship with God, I’ve become more comfortable with the world’s bond.  If this virus taught me anything, it’s this: I cannot rely on the world – it will always fail me. But what I know that will never fail me is my hope in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 6:6-12 (NIV)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.