Tag Archives: serving

Lamentations; Psalm 137; 1 Peter 4

Spiritual Gifts are one of the most mis-understood and least implemented parts of the Christian life. I was with a group of Christians not too long ago. About 25 people and asked them how many of them knew what their gifts were. Only two or three raised their hands. That is a pretty typical response I would say. Yet here we see Peter challenging his readers to steward the gifts they have been given by the Holy Spirit and use them well.

We find the spiritual gifts discussed in the 4’s and 12’s (Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4; 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12). Who said the Bible was hard to read or figure you!

So spiritual gifts are given to us at our point of conversion to Christianity. They are given to us to edify the Body of Christ. There are between 19 & 22 depending on your theology (not the place here to discuss that) and each one of have at least one gift.

In this morning’s reading we find the following:

  • Hospitality, v. 9
  • Speaking (most likely teaching), v. 11
  • Serving, v. 11

9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:9-11 [ESV]).

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Are you using them to serve the Body of Christ? If not read through the 4’s and the 12’s and begin this week.

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Filed under 1 Peter, Lamentations, Psalms, Uncategorized

Num 33; Ps. 78:1-37; Isa. 25; 1 John 3

Just a shift in perspective… WHAT a gift!

I am continuously amazed at just how much I receive back when I listen to my Father’s words. As an engineer, the thought of getting more out than you put into any system defies logic and proves problematic mathematically. And yet, doesn’t our Father do that in so many areas of our life? Create a miracle from the weeds in our life? The question is once we experience the miracle, are we mature enough to recognize our Savior as deserving of all the glory, or do we take all the credit for doing something wonderful through our own effort?

For the past several weeks, I’ve been serving alongside other men at the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore on Monday evenings. There, we’ve been working with a group of 60+ men from all walks of life who have been struggling with addictions of all kinds. These men desire a different life, but as with many things in life, change is slow. Often times for me, at least, I get frustrated with the change process, wanting the results in my own time and not God’s time. I had been more discouraged of late because I so wanted something, anything, to show that my presence on all those Monday evenings was worth it. So, I started to pray “God… please help me to know that what I’m doing matters…” and still nothing. Did God really hear what I was asking? Then, I began to think… if we ask God for patience, does He give us patience, or does He give us a chance to be patient? If we ask God for courage, would He give us courage, or would He give us opportunities to be courageous? If we want/need to know the worth of serving, would He offer us words of affirmation and good feelings inside, or would He offer us meaningful opportunities to serve in obedience to His word so we could truly experience the love He expressed to His disciples in John 13:1-17? Perhaps my perspective on the issue was a bit off… perhaps changing my perspective was part of where the answer could be found…

That night, my brothers and I served at Helping Up Mission by washing the feet of over 60 men. Next to the birth of my 2 girls, it had to have been one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had the opportunity to witness. It broke all of us… to be in a place to serve others just as Christ did to His disciples, broke us! To experience the divine nature manifested in God’s children (1 John 3:1-18); in their being like Christ (1 John 3:4-10); in loving my brother (1 John 3:11-18); that through practical obedience we can have reassurance and confidence (1 John 3:10-14); that answer to prayer depends on obedience (1 John 3:22). My heart was filled with such incredible joy and satisfaction that words do not do justice to the gift that I had been given that evening… that my perspective was off, and by changing my perspective away from being ME-centered to simply serving in obedience, I was able to honor my Lord and as a benefit, become filled with a love inside I had only read about up to that point, and I am so thankful!

The men of Helping Up Mission who participated in this event that night still speak of what happened in that small room. I know it was something I’ll never forget and continue to look for more opportunities to honor my Lord as I seek not to please myself, but rather to model my Lord who came to serve others through opportunities to love each other unconditionally in obedience (Ps. 78:7, Isa. 25:1-5). Men… for those of you who want to experience this amazing love, consider washing your wife or fiancé’s feet… what better way to express your love and to honor and respect her, to demonstrate a humility of the heart and character by kneeling in front of her, and to communicate to her that you will be there for her through not only the good, but through all the bad things of life. God is SO good!

Amen!!

Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms

Gen. 40; Mark 10; Job 6; Rom. 10

God’s way of doing things.

Joseph in prison, where God wanted him. He interprets dreams.

Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” he says to the cup-bearer and baker. Joseph interprets their dreams and he requests–remember me  to Pharaoh when you’re set free, I’m imprisoned, but I did nothing to deserve it.

The rich man in Mark, letter keeper of the law, what must he do for eternal life?

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Mark 10:21-22 NLT.

I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. Romans 10:2-3 NLT.

I wonder how it looks to refuse to accept God’s way. The rich man didn’t reject God’s law–he kept it. And perhaps he didn’t want to reject Jesus, but he was saddened by the way he would have to follow Jesus.

Joseph is imprisoned for nothing he had done wrong. He didn’t want to be there, didn’t think it was right. But he continued to serve in the way God made for him. A servant, who would later lead.

Job is pierced with arrows of grief–this is no light matter, when he lost everything. Everything. He works through waves of emotion, and his friends offer insight to make sense of it–they don’t understand God’s way.

Disciples shooing away little, bothersome children. A rich man with a flawless track record. Brothers who want to be seated beside the King in his kingdom. They didn’t understand: Jesus blessing children; treasure in heaven; the least being greatest.

Maybe my circumstances are God’s way too of getting me right with him. Certainly Jesus did all that I could not do, and he died for my sins and made me righteous and clean before God. God still works on my heart–and maybe things I don’t understand (sibling rivalry, a work-related stress, a busy kindergartener, and even a move to a new zip code) are all also God’s way of making me right with him–a sanctification of heart.

I don’t always understand. I can also refuse to accept it. Or I can lean into God on stormy days, and serve him–like Joseph–right where I am.

Lord, I often get caught up in details that I don’t see how they fit into a bigger picture. It is in hindsight, and walking through trials, that I see your great mercy upon me–you’ve saved me from things that I thought were good for me, but truly weren’t. I hope to keep you and your kingdom in focus and serve you where you have me–in my community, in my activities, and in my relationships.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Romans

Genesis 40; Mark 10; Job 6; Romans 10

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life — a ransom for many.”   Mark 10: 43-45

I desire to be great.  And if I am being honest, I am certainly not trying to achieve this by having a pure servant heart.  I am selfish, prideful, and very easily distracted by what the world defines as “great”.  In fact, I have struggled with a Super Suzie complex for a long time — I want others to notice my greatness… because if they do, they may like me.  Human approval.  Definitely not what God desires from me.  And definitely not the motivation God desires for service.

Jesus came to give His life away.  His sole purpose for living was to die… not because He needed His blood shed for Himself.  He was shedding His blood to save me… to save all of humanity.  There is nothing selfish about that.  It was complete humility.  He was a King. He deserved worship and adoration.  He was worthy of attention, glory, and greatness.  BUT, Jesus didn’t demand it.  He didn’t ask for it. He didn’t do the things on earth that He did so that others would like Him.  Jesus came to serve and to give His very life to bring glory to God the Father.  Wow… I really need a complete renovation of the heart!

It is just so easy for me to get sucked into the value system of this world:

  • Believing that I NEED certain things to be happy
  • Believing that my kids NEED to be involved in a million extracurricular activities because everyone else is
  • Believing that SUCCESS is defined by the job, house, and car that I own
  • Believing that  I have a RIGHT to be happy and that struggles in life are unfair

Writing that list down kind of makes me nauseous. Satan is so quick to tempt me to believe those lies.  And the rotten thing is, so often I do.

Dear Jesus,

Please help me to become like You.  I want to see people through Your eyes — to be able to attend to the needs of others without any selfish motivation.  You have blessed me with so much in this life.  May I be quick to give away and share with others, expecting NOTHING in return.  And God, I acknowledge that my worth comes from YOU alone.  I pray that the approval from others would not be the driving force behind my actions.  I want to have purity of heart — to give YOU the praise, glory, and adoration that You deserve.  After all, Lord, it is all about You.  You are worthy and good!  I love You, Jesus!

Amen

Suzie (suzielawyer)

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Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament

Genesis 21, Matthew 20, Nehemiah 10, Acts 20

SCRIPTURE

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28

You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. Acts 20:21

OBSERVATION

God served Sarah a hearty portion of the laughter of motherhood.  He brought Hagar hope for her son’s future. Abraham believed and called on the Name of the Lord.  Nehemiah made it his business to ensure the things of God were not neglected. Jesus came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. Paul raised a young man to life after his lengthy preaching caused the man to doze off and fall out a window to his death.

APPLICATION

Serving is often long, hard, and thankless work. Throughout history God sent his servants to minister to a dying world.

I often hesitate in sharing God’s word. It feels like nobody is listening. When people are paying attention, it’s even more scary.

Recently someone posted a verse from Ezekiel that reminded me my job is to put the Word out there, not monitor who sees it.

Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.” Ezekiel 3:11

PRAYER

Lord, may I shine the light on You every day of my life. Help me to remember and live the whole counsel of your Word, not just the highlights. Thank you for salvation full and free in Jesus, in whose Name I pray. Amen

yicareggie

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