SERVANT’S HEART

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  1 Peter 5:1-4

After my devotional reading this morning in 1 Peter 5, I wanted to take a specific passage and apply it to a larger theme of SERVANT-HOOD answering the question that many of us deal with:  “How can I help my Church?”

What do you call a chicken crossing the road?

Poultry in motion.

What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?

A stick.

Where do you find a dog with no legs?

Right where you left him.

What do call cheese that isn’t yours?

Nacho cheese.

What do you call a Christian who isn’t serving?

A CONTRADICTION~

You and I have been redeemed for a reason…

Another way to say it is, we’ve been SAVED to SERVE… we’ve been mobilized for ministry?  That’s why when we are NOT serving in some way, in and through the church, it’s a contradiction.  Because to be a follower of Christ means you are a servant of Christ Jesus.

As we go through this passage of Scripture, I want to apply the words of Peter to a larger theme of SERVANT-HOOD and answer the questions.

Help Your Church By Serving “willingly” (verse 2 a.)

  • “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing…”

I’m not a Bible teacher or a Christian Blogger because that’s what I chose to do.

I could have chosen to do many other things in furthering the cause of Christ.  But God CHOSE me to teach and write.  Since I know that this is my calling, then I SERVE willingly.

I’m not fighting to surrender; I’m freely and willingly serving.

So many Christians today are useful in their churches to advance the gospel but they are not willing, they refuse.  That has always confused me over the years.  Some may feel unworthy and inadequate; some feel that it will cost them too much.nnSome may feel like it will require too much sacrifice.  On and on the list could go, but the Scripture is clear.  If we have been CALLED to serve, or if we have talents and abilities to serve, then we must not reject His call!

The Scripture says, “but because you are willing, as God wants you to  be” (NIV)

It’s God’s desire to surrender your life to Him – Your talents and your abilities to be used by Him in His service.  You surrender willingly, not because you are forced.

Help Your Church By Serving Eagerly – (vs. 2) “but eager to serve”

DEFINITION:  eager : An adjective. 

synonyms:  enthusiastic, fervent, zealous, passionate, motivated, wholehearted, dedicated.

I love to watch someone who is fairly new to the church, and they’re a fairly new believer, and the first opportunity they can do something in the church for the Lord, you can see the eagerness they have.  They get to the church doors early and they stay late to help clean up.  They are EAGER to serve.  They can’t wait to get after it.

Losing the Eagerness –

How in the world do we get to the place in our Christian lives, where we lose that eagerness to serve?

There’s also a flip side of the person that is eager when that person who does some type of service because no one else will take it!

Usually, the ACT OF SERVICE is done without any heartfelt sense of service to God, because quite frankly. we didn’t feel called to do it –  “I know it needs to be done, but no one else sees the need, so I guess I’ll have to do it again!”

The Scripture says that ALL of us, not 20 percent of the people doing 100 percent of the work, but ALL of us be eager to serve.  Not because I’m obligated to do it, or any other matter for that reason, but because I want to have an impact in the kingdom for eternity – “but be eager to serve.”

Helping Your Church By Serving As An Example For Others –  (verse 3)

“being examples (patterns and models of Christians living) to the flock (the congregation)”  [AMP]

This is what can really hurt the church body of believers.  When we SERVE as an example, not preaching and teaching one thing, then doing another.

If “Mel” is going to be an example, then my walk will match my talk, and my talk will match my walk,

Titus 2:7 (NLT)

If I’m going to be an EXAMPLE for others, then I need to truly be a person of INTEGRITY.

Integrity means that you are the same person when no one else is looking.  In other words, if I claim to be a “good Christian” on Sundays to everyone at church, but when I get home, I view pornography, I drink till I can’t stand up. that’s not a person of integrity, that’s a true genuine hypocrite.

With us as genuine believers, the person we are on Sundays needs to be the same person the rest of the week.  If I’m going to help the church, then I need to SERVE as an example for others.

Helping Your Church Will Ensure A Heavenly Reward – (verse 4)

[4]  And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the conqueror’s crown of glory.  [AMP]

This is why we do what we do, this is why we stay up late getting ready for acts of service, whether it’s a special event, studying for a Sunday school lesson, or going over a song, or praying with someone who is hurting.  This is why we do all those things.  For the approval of Jesus!

Every single one of us, when we meet Jesus one day, will want Him to say, “Well done good and faithful servant, you have done everything I equipped you to do.  You used every talent I give, every ability I allow you to have or learn, every opportunity I set before you to SERVE…you took it.  WELL DONE!!”

The Apostle Paul reminds each one of us in Ephesians 6:8…

A Story of An Old Potato Farmer –

After lightning struck on an old shed, a farmer was relieved because now he didn’t have to tear it down.

The rains came and cleaned off his car, and that saved him from having to wash it.

When asked what he was doing now, he replied, “I’m waiting for an earthquake to shake the potatoes out of the ground.”

If we are going to have a SERVANT’S HEART, we can’t just wait for something to happen.  Jesus said we’re blessed when we do something.

I’ve found in my own life over the years of service FOUR ACTIONS…steps that you might apply to your own life:

  1. SERVE whenever you can.
  2. SERVE wherever you can.
  3. SERVE whoever is in need.
  4. BE WILLING to do whatever it takes.

Let’s live our lives as obedient and humble servants.  Don’t be a contradiction!!

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CREDITS:

Photos/Images:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); New Living Translation (NLT); Ling James Version (KJV).

 

 

 

 

The “Honey Bee” Prophetess (Part One)

“If the ironworker won’t, the carpenters will”

There is an old saying in the construction workforce, if the ironworker won’t do the job. the carpenters will.  I was in the plumbing contractors business where I retired, and the men in the field changed the saying to “If the pipe fitter won’t do the job, the plumbers will.”  In any case, you get the point.

It suggests that if ironworker won’t do the job, then the carpenters will.  However, that also suggests the structure might not be exactly what we want or what we were looking for to begin with.  It takes SKILL to do the task.

Lets see how this plays out in Scripture in The Book of Judges:

DEBORAH: Her Name Means “Honey Bee”–

The HONEY BEE
The HONEY BEE

I’ve always been fascinated with the meanings of names and how in some instances, how we can grow into their meanings.

For an example, my full name is MELVIN DALE THOMPSON.  “Mel” or “Melvin” means “chief”,  “Dale” means “valley”.  So put them together…Chief of the Valley.  Looking back at the age of 71 years, the name meaning has some significance.  How?  That’s another story.

DEBORAH comes from the Hebrew root, meaning to speak or promise.  It’s also where the phrase “Word of God” comes from and is identical to the word, meaning “BEE”.  Did she live up to her given name?  Let’s dive into the Word and do our own investigation.

DEBORAH’S VISION:

Her vision of the world during her day wasn’t shaped by the political climate, but by her relationship with God.

Though women of the ancient world didn’t usually become political leaders, DEBORAH was what Israel needed, a woman, a prophetess who heard God and believed Him.

She is a woman who had the needed courage and with her courage, aroused the people, enabling them to throw off foreign oppression.

DEBORAH IS A WOMAN AMONG MEN!

Some consider it unexpected for God to raise up a woman as a prophetess.  But the New Testament makes it clear:  God grants the gift of prophecy to women, and they are to practice it appropriately.

Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head… (1 Corinthians 11:5 NIV).

From that verse, we find that the essential element of a woman’s ministry as a prophetess in the early church was her clear submission to the male leadership in the church (evidenced by her wearing of a veil).  If I raise the “dander” in some ladies reading this Bible study, I’m just stating what Scripture says.  If you don’t like the connotation behind “submission”, try another word: “selfless love”.

In the New Testament Church–

A woman was to use her spiritual gifting in context of order established by the church leaders–just like anyone’s Spiritual Gifts.  This is always made possible because the gift of PROPHECY never “overwhelms” the one who receives it, and the spirits of the people are subject to the prophets–                   (1 Corinthians 14:32).

Why God Uses Deborah–

Might it have been she was the only one listening to God at the time?

Deborah serves us up notice in the church today a godly example of her servant like heart, her ability to delegate, her authoritative leadership, her willingness to serve God at any cost.

Deborah’s Character Development–

She was BRAVE…,

She was INTELLIGENT…

She was TRUSTWORTHY…

She was CONFIDENT–not just confident in her title of “JUDGE”, but CONFIDENT OF GOD’S WORD AND PRESENCE.

The Court of Judgement–

No large enclosed structure with columns and staircases on the outside.  Deborah ruled Israel under a PALM TREE that bears her name:

She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided  (Judges 4:5 NIV).

joan_arc_good
Joan of Arc

Now Deborah was more than an ARBITRATOR, she’s a prophetess, one who acts between God and man who lets the people know God’s will.  If I were to make a comparison of great women in history, my choice would be Joan of Arc.

Deborah is out in the “hill country” judging while her peers are at home weaving.  She goes into battle while other women are staying at home with their children.  Now before you jump to conclusions–I’m not knocking “stay at home Mom’s,” I exalt them.  It is not about what Deborah does, it’s why she does it.

God has asked her to do this task, no matter what the cost and Deborah acts in FAITH.  She probably would have been just as willing to stay at home and let the men lead.  But God calls her!  Why?  Were there no men to answer the call?

“Use them or Love them”–

Some have said that in times when men seem spiritually weak, God uses women instead.  I say it’s more accurate to say that the deeds and the faith of the women were more evident in these historical times.  Would I dare to say that history repeats itself?

The Lord gives GIFTS by His Spirit to ALL people.  If we don’t use them, they will be given to someone else.  I believe this was the case and setting, although, Scripture doesn’t actually state this as fact.

Is this a WARNING to the church?

Is it possible that God will raise up women to lead the church if the men don’t?  I don’t want to find out.

So as a man, I challenge the men to remain steadfast in their FAITH, be the spiritual leader of your family and in your church as God ordained it to be.

Judges 4:1-5:

Deborah under the Palm Tree
Deborah under the Palm Tree by Adriene Cruz

[1]  AND THE children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead.  [2] And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.  [3] And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.  [4] And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lepidoth, she judged Israel at that time.  [5] And she dwelt under a palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgement (King James Bible).

This day was a normal day in the life of Israel.  Deborah set up court and the people came and went with their disputes settled under a Palm Tree.

Deborah then calls for Barak–

BARAK is considered by many Bible commentators as a “noble warrior.”  DEBORAH speaking for God, gives him a noble task, a “knightly” charge:

[6] And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kadesh-naphtali, and said unto him,  Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying,  Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?  [7] And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him unto thine hand.

WHERE IS FAITH?

God says GO, we say “Maybe”–Give us a sign?–Prove to me you are God?

Today we have the written Word if we want to know what God says, we can read it!

READ verses 8 thru 10:

[8] And Barak said to her, If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.  [9] And she said, I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the trip you take will not be for your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.  And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh,  [10] And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and he went up with 10,000 men at his heels, and Deborah went up with him  (Amplified Bible).

In a way, this is what Barak is doing:  “If you go with me, THEN…I will go.” 

At first glance, Barak’s words to Deborah didn’t seem unwise for him to ask Deborah to come with him.  Yet the fact remains that he demanded which demonstrates Barak trusted more in Deborah’s relationship with God than his own relationship with God.

Don’t we do the same at times in our faith walk.  We are asked by someone to pray, to share our testimony with strangers, to do something our pastor asks us to accomplish in the service of the Lord…and yet, deep inside our souls, the CONFIDENCE is absent.  We even ask the pastor,  “Who else is going to help?”  Why?  The answer is OUR RELATIONSHIP with our Father in heaven.

There will be no glory for you”

Because of this, Barak would not be the one who personally defeats Israel’s enemy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army.  It would be a woman who God Almighty would reward with His glory.

Now we would probably expect this to be fulfilled by Deborah, but this PROPHECY will be fulfilled unexpectedly.

Will pick up the story in The “Honey Bee” Prophetess (Part Two).