Greatest compliment

People love compliments. All my wife has to say is, “what a big, strong man you are,” and I’m ready to move the world for her.

It’s only natural to like hearing positive things about yourself. Especially if they’re true.

What is the greatest compliment God ever paid a human being? “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil,” (Job 1:8 NASB).

What higher compliment is there than for the Lord God to call someone a servant (Matthew 20:28; Hebrews 9:14)?

 

#compliments, #servant

mm

(#140) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:10-Robbing Hoods

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 19:10: “Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes.”

“Luxury” describes the pampered life one would expect in someone who has the power of office, but may have little regard for God. Jesus contrasted the Prophet John the Baptist who preached God’s Word to “those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury [but] are in kings’ courts” (Luke 7:25). “A fool” disregards God’s Word and Way, for “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26), thus “a fool” living in “luxury” is unexpected or unintended.

The same can be said for “a servant” to have “rule over princes,” it upsets the natural order. Of the four things that are disturbing on earth, one is “a servant when he reigns” (Proverbs 30:21-23). Solomon later will say such a condition is “folly” (ridiculous): “I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants” (Ecclesiastes 10:7). Revolution can overturn the order in society, and there are consequences that must be faced. “Class Warfare” seems to always have existed, and is based upon false arguments: (1) zero sum philosophy=the amount of natural resources and wealth are fixed, so no one may become rich without taking away that wealth from someone else. This motivates the “poor” to resent the “rich” and feel they are being left out of a “fair and equal” distribution of wealth. Solomon said there is wealth for everyone blessed by God: “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). There is no limit as to whom or how much God will bless. (2) envy and covetousness=lusting for what the “haves” have without doing their work to achieve it. When those who “have not” train their eyes on what others “have,” desiring to obtain it by evil means, we have an example of what God calls “covetousness,” which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Satisfaction with what we “have” comes from trusting God to be in charge: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

When the “poor” are encouraged to covet what the “rich” have, they become “robbing hoods,” whether or not they are members of a political party, labor union, man-made religion, or underworld brotherhood!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #class-warfare, #covetousness, #folly, #fool, #luxury, #practical-lessons, #princes, #proverbs, #servant, #zero-sum

mm

(#119) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:2-An “Heir-y” Proverb

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 17:2: “A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame, And will share an inheritance among the brothers.”

How can a “servant” become part of the family and a “son” lose his portion? First, the son, by birth, is related to his parents, but should learn to respect his family and his place in it. A son could sell his birthright for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25:29-34; Hebrews 12:16); squander his birthright (Luke 15:11-32); or obediently work for the family (Matthew 21:28-32). A son could cause “shame.” “He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame” (Proverbs 10:5); “He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach” (Proverbs 19:26). A lazy son who will not support himself or help his family “causes shame!” A son who resents and abuses his parents “causes shame and brings reproach!” Parents will feel ashamed to claim a son who refuses to be respectful and work. Or, like Abraham’s son by the handmaid Hagar, Ishmael, he could show disrespect for his place and “scoff” and be rejected by his father, Abraham (Genesis 21:9-14). A son who doesn’t appreciate his own home won’t respect anyone else’s either, even when he marries!

Second, “a wise servant” may obey and work as if he were a son like the parents want, and so ingratiate himself to the parents that they give him a son’s inheritance. Of the servants born in Abram’s house (Genesis 14:14), one had distinguished himself so that Abram considered him worthy of a son’s inheritance:” ‘Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ Then Abram said, ‘Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!’” (Genesis 15:2-3). However, God’s Plan was not to be through Abram’s actual son through Hagar, Ishmael, nor Eliezer the servant “adopted” by Abram, but rather, God’s covenant was to be through Sarah’s son, Isaac (Genesis 17:18-22).

Moses was God’s “servant” in God’s House in the Old Testament, Israelites; but Jesus Christ is the Son who is now over God’s House since the New Testament, the church of Christ: “For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:3-6). Though Moses was a “wise” servant, for he “was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22), he never was accepted as the Son over the House of God as Jesus Christ has been! Moses’ Law was never given for the Church of Christ to observe, but was only for the Israelites, and to lead to Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 5:1-3, 6; Galatians 3:21-29). JESUS CHRIST NEVER BROUGHT “SHAME” TO HIS FATHER!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #church-of-christ, #obedience, #proverbs, #servant, #shame, #son, #wisdom

A minister without the “title”

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10 – NKJV)

God isn’t impressed with titles. Titles bring responsibility (James 3:1) but they don’t get the work finished.

People crave titles but God wants us to crave His work (Titus 2:14, 3:8; Galatians 4:18; 1 Timothy 3:1; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16).

Liberals love to praise people who have pushed the envelope for titles for they equate titles with “equality” in the church. God praises people who work in His name and in His will, for He equates equality with being in Jesus and working within the bounds of the body of Christ (Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13:3).

Conservatives love to praise people who have held firm to tradition for they equate tradition alone with working God’s will. God praises people who work within the tradition of the church’s faith through love, for God refuses to accept service done in His name if it’s not done in His will (Galatians 5:5-6; Romans 12:1-3).

Let’s stick to the middle of the road (or the middle of the channel) and start showing more of a concern for rowing the boat instead of where we sit in the boat. An oar moving in unison with another oar will get much more done than an oar trying to go solo not matter how big the solo oar thinks it is.

I may have gotten a little off track with the last three comments, but then again maybe not; either way let me bring it back to my original sentence: If we’re waiting around for a title to make our work have some sort of significance in the sight of man or in the sight of God then we’re not ready for that work – whatever the work is!

And by the way, try looking up what the word “minister” actually means if you don’t already know and you might get what I’m trying to say.

But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8-12 – NKJV)

#christianity, #ego, #humility, #minister, #religion, #servant, #the-errors-of-division-within-the-church, #title, #work

mm

Psalm 143 What If The Spirit Is Not Willing?

This Psalm of David tells us what to expect of life before death! Living for God in a hostile world is not easy but requires trust in God and a strong faith in His Word.

Verses 1-2 give the plea;

Verses 3-8 detail the spiritual struggle within;

Verses 9-12 ask for spiritual awakening.

Verses 1-2: “Prayer” is speaking to God, “supplication” is to ask of God. “Prayer and supplication” are often connected in Scripture (1 Kings 8:37-40; Philippians 4:6). Without repentance and forgiveness, no human would be acceptable to God. No one is acceptable to God who: says they are (Luke 18:9-14); thinks they obey (Matthew 7:21-23); confesses no sin (1 John 1:8-10); works wickedness (Psalm 101:3-4); hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:15).

Verses 3-8: Enemies, in persecuting our souls, may make us feel “crushed,” surrounded in darkness, lifeless and overwhelmed. Reading and meditating on the Word of God helps us “remember” God’s help in the past. “Meditate” is the focus on God’s “Works,” “musing” is thinking through His Way, spreading out one’s hands is to show God we hold nothing back from our obedience. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). When we feel our spirit fail, an alarming thought is that God would turn away from us, thus Jesus cried out from the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus was taking our place on the cross (1 Peter 3:18). If we will remember God’s “lovingkindness,” then our “trust” in Him who has shown us “the way in which I should walk” will “lift up my soul to You.”

Verses 9-12: David asks God to “deliver” him from enemies, “teach” him to do God’s will, and “lead” all the way into “the land of uprightness.” God’s “Spirit is good,” so Christians should “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). A soul delivered from trouble is a soul “revived.” God is merciful to His Servants – anyone may become a “servant of God.” Daniel was spared in a den of lions because he was a “servant of the living God” (Daniel 6:20).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #meditate, #obedience, #revive, #servant, #supplication

Too many Christians are more interested in performing…

Too many Christians are more interested in performing in the limelight than walking in the Lord’s light. The apostle Andrew was satisfied to walk in the shadow of his more prominent brother Peter. This self defacing quality which enabled Andrew to play second fiddle speaks highly of his Christ-likeness. There is nothing demeaning in being a substitute. I don’t have to play on the varsity. I am perfectly content to be a second stringer on the spiritual team and sit on the bench, if I can just have the Lord for my coach. I’ll carry water for the other players and wash their dirty socks, if he will just allow me to be part of the team. After Jesus washed the apostles feet, he said, I have given you an example. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#just-a-minute, #servant

Warrior’s

The Lord’s Warriors. In Acts 3 through 5 we learn from the words of the Holy Spirit exactly what it means to be a warrior for the Lord. In C-3, presumably on Pentecost, the apostles continue to preach the name of Jesus. This aroused the suspicion and outright adversarial approach of the religious leaders in C-4. When the apostles were asked by whose authority they did the things they did, they did not shy away from answering it at all—they did these things in the name of the man they killed; a man who was innocent of any wrong, but was in fact the chosen of God that Moses wrote about (Deuteronomy 18:15-18). Jesus was fresh on the minds of the religious leaders; they took note these uneducated men were with Jesus, so they sternly warned them to no longer preach in His name. The apostles chose a different course of action (Acts 5:29), and because they did they were the Lord’s warriors.
The Warrior’s Message. When we think of a warrior we generally think of a male clad in military gear, fully prepared to meet the task before him. Those who fall in battle we lament, but honor their memory and call them heroes. The Lord’s warrior is clad in armor of a different sort (Ephesians 6:13-18). The Lord’s army consists of both male and female saints, and the armor worn is not material in nature. The Lord needs His saints to carry His message to a world that is lost and dying in sin. Ironically, a material army seeks to destroy, whereas the Lord’s army seeks to save. That’s the warrior’s message.
The Servant Warrior. In Acts 6 the apostles had to confront a problem that, perhaps, they anticipated to some degree. They were twelve men leading a rather large congregation of people; the church of Christ in Jerusalem numbered into the thousands. It was only natural that needs would arise. Once they did the apostles took charge by delegating administration and ministry. The men who served in the particular capacity that was demanded were godly men; not just any man served. The needs were basic and the men who oversaw the distribution of basic items to meet a need did so to the Lord’s glory. That’s a servant warrior.
The Lord’s Servant Failing. The Lord’s servant is guaranteed to fail in his service to the Lord when he takes his armor off, when he begins to serve others for selfish purposes, and when the message he carries is compromised with the teachings of man. Thus, it is always a matter of propriety and priority to have the Lord first in one’s life. When the Lord’s servant does not, it will not be long before suspicion, jealousy, and envy set in. Another guaranteed failing in the servant warrior’s life is when he changes king’s. There is only one king in the life of the Lord’s warrior, and that is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15). When Israel was in Egyptian bondage there arose a king who did not know Joseph; consequently, there was no honor shown to the Lord’s people. Political loyalty can confuse and cloud one’s image of the right (and only) king. Finally, the warrior servant will be guaranteed to fail when he rejects the Lord’s authority in his life and the Lord’s authority and structure of the church. It is this last point that needs emphasis: the Lord’s church is not a MAN-MADE institution; it is the Lord’s institution (Matthew 16:13-19)! Thus, when people speak against the local church they are speaking against whom? RT (A bulletin article in the Highway Church of Christ, 11.11.2012)

#armor, #lords-army, #servant, #warrior

One Final Thought on Freedom

The greatest freedom is the freedom to be a servant of Jesus.

Governments, try as they may, can’t take this one away.

#freedom, #jesus, #servant

What You Can

She did what she could, the Scripture tells us. Always liked the passage and I have always liked the thought. People do grand things when “she” does what she can. Tending to the children, tending to the home, tending to a husband who needs support, tending to the neighbors who need an ear. Having a bright smile, a working spirit, and a godly disposition – the Lord said she did what she could.

The pronoun is a “she,” but it could be a “he.” We may not do much in comparison with others, but the Lord notes when we do what we can.

#servant

The one-talent man in our congregation

Our one-talent man could become so much more than what he is, but he just isn’t interested or devoted to the Lord enough to develop his one talent.

The one-talent man in Matthew 25 is one of three servants given funds according to their separate abilities. There was one who was given five talents, a two-talent man and the man given just one talent. The point of the parable is that two of the servants developed their ability and were profitable servants because of their devotion. The one-talent man went and buried his money. He is called wicked and lazy because he had ability he refused to use to the glory of his Lord.

Taken as a whole, this chapter of Matthew points to a right and a wrong way to prepare for the coming of Christ. The five wise virgins  prepared to go into the marriage feast. The five foolish were not. The five-talent man worked diligently to develop his abilities in the Lord’s service and was rewarded. Likewise the two-talent man prepared himself for his Lord’s coming, but the one-talent man would not. Through mendacity and carelessness, he showed a lack of devotion.

We have such a one-talent brother, as almost every congregation has. He is very good dealing one-on-one with people, but he never uses that talent. For some reason no one is able to explain, he has buried that talent in the ground. He could bring many lost to Christ with his skills dealing with people, but he does not.

How do we encourage him to dig up his talent and put it to profitable use before the Lord comes?

#man, #servant, #talent