GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 613 • February 9, 2021
DIFFICULT PROBLEMS THE CHURCH NEEDS TO TALK ABOUT – 5. SIDETRACKED SAINTS
The term “sidetracked” is railroad terminology. It means that a railroad car or cars, or whole train, have been diverted to a side track away from the main track. Such a car or cars are, at least for a time, “out of service.” The term has also come to mean taking the wrong track instead of the right one, the designated one. There are several ways in which side-tracking may occur: the engineer may choose a side track, or someone may put him on the wrong track by working a switch without the knowledge of the one operating and guiding the train. Continue reading
Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny
John 13:17 If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Do. Such a small word, yet loaded with meaning and activity. I can do so many things, some good, some not so good. I have to choose how I will spend my time and what I will do. Obviously, I want to be blessed. So I must do the things that will lead to blessings received. Should be easy, right? Not always because my selfishness surfaces and I do not always want to do good. It is a constant struggle that I had hoped by this time in my life, I would have conquered. Some days, I do very well. Others, well you get the picture.
There is also the understanding that is needed. Jesus had just washed the disciples’ feet. Something that needed to be done, but no one was willing to do it. Except Jesus. His was a servant heart that focused on obedience to the Father. May I have that focus this year and be willing to serve, even in those things that no one else wants to do.
#risingjoy #gospel-of-John #service #devotional
Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny
Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. Romans 12.10-13
The Christian should not be a pessimistic person. If you look inward, it is easy many times to realize your own limitations, at least from your point of view. One should analyze where you are and how you are progressing. But, when you look inwardly all the time, you miss the opportunities that God puts in your path to serve him. When you serve others, you are serving him. When you serve others, you are able many times to forget your own problems and go about life with a better outlook. You allow God to use you for his glory.
Paul made service to others appealing when putting it in such positive and active terms. Eagerness, zeal, and enthusiastic are all words that bring energetic pictures to your mind. Contributing to the needs of others requires action of some sort on a person’s part.
Pursue hospitality. Do you invite others into your home on a regular basis whether it is to teach them or to feed them? Maybe someone needs an encouraging word and what better way to share that than over a cup of coffee! Before this year, you could already see people isolating themselves somewhat because of their busy schedules. There was no time to have people into their home to share the gospel or encouragement.
Let us remember the hope that we have, that others need, and that we can share in a loving and positive way. Get that coffee ready!
#risingjoy #Romans #service
By Christopher Underwood
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Each day we have a choice to serve the Lord at home, or school or at the job. When studying for the new semester of school, plan to do it to the best of your ability as if serving the Lord.
When working on the job find a way to work joyfully as serving the Lord.
It will put your effort in perspective to gain more than just a perfect score on your exam, or get a raise from the company.
Your example can be the seed of influence to others. Just as grumpy people can spread grumpiness, you and I can reflect the joy of the Lord and spread hope.
Have a great day and ask God in prayer for guidance to obey the Lord faithfully.
#encouragement #service #example #encouragement-note
“You know that the family of Stephanas was the first family to be won for Christ in Greece. This family has devoted itself to serving God’s [holy] people. So I encourage you, brothers and sisters,to follow the example of people like these and anyone else who shares their labor and hard work.”
1 Coríntios 16.15-16 GW
Paul holds up as worthy of note Stephanas and his family. He praises their example. They were doing what the Corinthians weren’t: serving God’s holy ones.
In what ways can we serve God’s people? How can we help them do their work?
#service #dedication #VOTD
“I commission you as my spokesman; I cover you with the palm of my hand, to establish the sky and to found the earth, to say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
God called his servant to create a new universe: transform Israel to be his true people. The three infinitives refer to the same work that God does through his servant.
God uses his servants for cosmic effect, though they may not see it. Have you answered his call to serve him by being his spokesperson?
#Isaiah #service #VOTD
“Now, brothers and sisters, you know about the household of Stephanus, that as the first converts of Achaia, they devoted themselves to ministry for the saints.”
1 Corinthians 16.15
Though they were the first converts in Achaia, Stephanus and his family did not consider it a position of honor, but an opportunity to serve. They did all they could for God’s people (CEV). They “spent all their time” doing so (NIRV). Such devotion means sacrifice of time, energy, and funds.
In what ways do you devote yourself to the serve of God’s family? Why is this a priority in the church?
#service #church #VOTD
“Pursue love and be eager for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”
1 Corinthians 14.1
When miraculous gifts were available, Paul preferred prophesy over speaking in tongues, because it provided “strengthening, encouragement, and consolation” to the whole church, vv. 3-4. Love guided the choice and use of gifts.
What spiritual gifts may you pursue in love that will be of the greatest benefit to others?
#love #service #VOTD
“Now Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.”
Aaron was Moses’ older brother. Moses was the great deliverer of God’s people. With some character flaws, Aaron was passed over, but still used by God as high priest. With one exception, when he followed Miriam in her complaint against Moses, he seemed to have accepted his role.
Let us not be discontent that we have not been chosen for a greater role. What can we do to accept the calling that God has extended to us?
“But he replied, ‘They don’t need to go. You give them something to eat.'”
The disciples wanted to send away the crowd, since it was late. Jesus saw a need and an opportunity to serve.
Jesus took time for people. He never sent them away empty-handed. He served their needs and taught them about God.
“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Loving God will cause a disciple to be faithful in the use of money, vv. 10-12. But those who love money will scoff at Jesus’ words and justify themselves, vv. 14-15.
How do people try to serve two masters at once?
#love #money #service #VOTD
Read the entire article about these American military veterans who received the Medal of Honor. Their stories are inspiring, even though one may not be a militarist or fan of war.
Such stories recall the courage needed by the inducted soldiers in the Kingdom of God. “Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong” 1 Cor 16.13. You may know some spiritual warriors who show these traits. Under the fire of the enemy, they are not ashamed of their Lord, Lk 9.26.
The author of the article cited above claims that brave soldiers have become strangers in our midst. No doubt, such estrangement is true as well of the church, which ought to be called the home of the brave. Many, also, look upon Christ’s workers who sacrifice themselves in the trenches as victims rather than heroic warriors.
Some things one does for one’s own spiritual benefit, as is right and necessary. If by chance those things benefit others, as they often will, so much the better. Growth in the Spirit is not a lonely nor selfish proposition. Of course, one must take care that such benefit does not become the end-all and do-all of ministry. There is that service that is undertaken solely for the benefit and need of one’s neighbor. The overflow of my benefit to the other cannot be the main service provided for another. The additional blessing to others that comes from one’s own efforts toward growth can never substitute the teaching, evangelism, edification, and benevolence given to others. But when the additional blessing occurs, blessing indeed it can be.
By William Woodson — The statement made in the title is not only the desire of many in the religious world, but it is becoming the philosophy of many Christians, because many of us are seeking a religion that “meets my needs.” The phrase itself has virtually become a new religious term. Many persons praise or blame a particular congregation because it is or is not “meeting my needs.”
Let me hasten to say that if the phrase means that we need to satisfy spiritual hunger, then it is a good expression, for surely everyone ought to be in a Christian community where his/her deepest spiritual longings are being addressed. Continue reading
“Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” (Acts 17:25)
How could the Lord, from whom all blessings flow, ever owe us anything? Obviously he doesn’t – not to any one individual or nation! The Lord’s will is the Lord’s will; the question is, “Are we willing to get on board with it?” Just think Romans 11:34-35 (which happens to repeat a principle that had already been taught to God’s people in the past) and the point will be made clear.
With that point in mind it should be remembered that the things we do in our service to God and his kingdom are not meant to be done as though he couldn’t do it without us. They are meant to be done in a way that causes us to be grateful to God for accomplishing his will through us (Philippians 2:1-11).
Whatever aspect of worship you can think of applies to this situation as well. What can we give that he doesn’t already own? (Psalm 50:10) The Almighty isn’t jealous of us! Jealous for us? Yes. (Exodus 34:14, Deuteronomy 32:16) Jealous concerning his name? Most definitely! (Deuteronomy 29:20) But not one time has the Lord ever been, nor will He ever be, jealous of us. He doesn’t require worship because he wants what we have – it’s because he wants us!
Service, worship, humility, appreciation, a holy fear and good spiritual growth comes through a recognition of who is in need of whom in the relationship between the created and the Creator. This is the thought that is meant to be bound between our eyes and upon our heart; a thought that leads to a seal which identifies us as first belonging to the Lord and then to the Lord belonging to us. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Hebrews 8:10)
“So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)