Devotion to serving: 1 Corinthians 16.15-16

“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

Establish the sky: Isaiah 51.16

“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.’”

Isaiah 51.16

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

Devoted to serve: 1 Corinthians 16.15 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

Be eager for gifts: 1 Corinthians 14.1 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

Eighty-three: Exodus 7.7 VOTD

“Now Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.”

Exodus 7.7

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?

#humility #service

Don’t need to go: Matthew 14.16 VOTD

“But he replied, ‘They don’t need to go. You give them something to eat.'”

Matthew 14.16

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.

#service #VOTD

Two masters: Luke 16.13 VOTD

“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.”

Luke 16.13

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

The home of the brave

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.

Continue reading

#service, #spiritual-warfare

Good for me, good for you?

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.

#benefit, #ministry, #service, #spirituality

I Want a Church that Meets My Needs

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

#church, #needs, #service

Who needs whom again?

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)

 

#areopagus, #our-need-for-god, #relationship-with-god, #service, #worship

We need them all

The Lord Jesus Christ taught multitudes, discipled small groups, talked one-on-one. He also took time away from people to be with his Father.

His followers do likewise. They find time alone with their God. They shine their light in the midst of a dark world. They make it a priority to meet with their family in Christ. Continue reading

#church, #divine-gifts, #grace, #service

ETHICS

In Romans 12 the Holy Spirit, writing by the hands of Paul, addressed the spirit of the saint in a tough world. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). The approach of each saint is to present oneself to the Lord in all that we do; the NKJV calls this one’s “reasonable service,” while the ASV says it is one’s “spiritual service,” and the ESV a “living sacrifice.” Whatever term is used the point is clear: one is to serve God, and this is the saint’s ethical basis. So, “let love be without hypocrisy” (12:9). This means that we are to love as the Lord loves us. This is easy to understand, but difficult to apply. The reason it is difficult is because we might be moody, the other person might be less than lovable, we might not know the meaning of the word love, or we just don’t want to do so. Whatever difficult reason in front of us, it is our obligation to move it out of the way and to do as the Lord did and does. RT

 

#ethics, #love, #service, #worship

Someone has said What is needed in…

Someone has said, “What is needed in the church is more towels and fewer titles.” When Jesus’ disciples were arguing over who was greatest, he told them they needed to become the Towel Brigade. Jesus took a basin of water and a towel and washed their feet and wiped them dry. But the lesson was not in dirty feet, but in pride-filled hearts. No spirit is further from Christ’s spirit than the haughty spirit. Yet I’ve seen some folks so proud, they could strut sitting down! In the parable of the good Samaritan the priest and Levite passed by on the far side. They represented the religious people. Someone said the reason the religious folks passed by on the far side was they saw he’d already been robbed. There was nothing left to take. Too many want titles, not towels. I once heard a preacher correct a member, “Don’t call me brother, call me Dr. So and So.” Well, the truth is there are no doctors or reverends or fathers or most holies in the Lord’s church. All are servants or they are not Christ’s. This is Just-a-Minute

#humility, #just-a-minute, #service

PRACTICAL FOR LIVING!

One evening, as I was leaving our seasonal Winter Shelter, one of the guests asked me of my perspective on religion as compared to certain practices he had observed. Part of my response to him was that religion — as it is expressed in the Scriptures — is not merely ritual, but is practical. It relates to accepting God’s authority for life, good living and helping to meet the needs of others. The questioner then responded, “You are doing that.”

Someone has said, “A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.” [original source unknown]

The fact that living a life pleasing to God is more than ritualistic observance is made clear through various passages of Scripture. For example, in response to a questioner seeking to justify himself (Luke 10:29), Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-35) The priest and the Levite appear to have been too focused on their ceremonial cleanness to help one who had A REAL NEED. To press the point we read. . .

“(36) Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (37) He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “YOU GO, AND DO LIKEWISE.”” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)

On another occasion, when Jesus’ disciples were accused of plucking heads of grain while walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded the
faultfinders of David and his men having eaten the bread that was only lawful for the priests to eat. That bread was there was to MEET THE NEED at the time. (Mark 2:23-26) By the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the “doctrines” of work on the Sabbath had been meticulously defined by the teachers of the law. However, in addressing the practicality, Jesus went on to state. . .

“(27) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”” (Mark 2:27 ESV)

There are a number of other places Jesus addressed what was done on the Sabbath when He Himself was accused of healing on the Sabbath. In those cases Jesus drew attention to what His accusers were willing to do when it came to their own personal property (i.e. Matthew 12:11-12), exposing more interest in themselves than in being willing to reach out to meet the REAL NEEDS around them.

Perhaps one of the most concise and clearest statements comes from James where we read. . .

“(27) RELIGION THAT IS PURE AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD, THE FATHER, IS THIS: TO VISIT ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD.” (James 1:27 ESV)

Living a “religious” life before God and man is both practical and holy. Purity of life is an issue to be taken very seriously. However, our interaction with others and willingness to MEET REAL NEEDS is also of extreme importance. Are we not glad we have a Heavenly Father aware of and willing to provide for both our spiritual and physical needs? May we be mindful of that with regard to others as we live through each day God provides.

Have a great day PUTTING THE ASSETS OF HEART, EAR, AND HAND TO WORK TO THE GLORY OF GOD! – Carl Hanson

(“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

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#christian-living, #christianity, #god, #life, #living-the-faith, #practical-lessons, #religion, #service, #serving-god