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).

 

 

 

 

Living Our Lives With The “Two Minute Warning” In Play

SCRIPTURE:  1 Peter 4:1-11 (NIV)

In football, the manner of play I’ve noticed over the years changes when the “TWO MINUTE WARNING” has sounded.  And in VERSE 7 in our study together, Peter says “The end of all things is now.”

I think that thought gives meaning to the whole passage as the Holy Spirit is saying through the Apostle that we should live our lives on earth as if Life’s TWO MINUTE WARNING has sounded.

The question becomes…we should ask ourselves while investigating this passage of Scripture, the same one Peter asks his readers (2 Peter 3:11)–“What kind of people ought you to be?”

So with that in mind, let’s look for ANSWERS to that question:

First, as Christians living in a lost world at the end of time, we should be ARMED with an ATTITUDE.  By the way, I didn’t steal that idea from Dr. Laura–it comes right out of this passage of Scripture (1 Peter 4:1-2).

Peter is giving us a picture of putting on our ATTITUDE as part of a suit of armor.  Very similar to the passage Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesian church–“Putting on the whole ARMOR of GOD” (Ephesians 6).

So What is ATTITUDE?

The English Oxford Dictionary:  “A settled way of thinking or feeling about something.”

Referring to “ATTITUDE”, Peter is saying it’s the same one that Christ took towards suffering–ARMED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE that He once had, completing the task, never again to wrestle with sin or temptation–that would all be over with, “It is finished!”

What it’s not saying is that if you suffer once, you’ll never suffer again.  It’s saying that we should “understand” suffering for what is right and it sometimes part of life in the body.

BIG PICTURE…as a result, you won’t live your life as if you must satisfy your earthly appetites–your desires, your pleasures, for a little suffering here.  It can’t be compared with an eternity FREE from SIN & SUFFERING.

ILLUSTRATION:

The ATTITUDE we should arm ourselves with is like that of a quarterback in the Superbowl who gets injured in the 4th Quarter of the game and the TWO MINUTE WARNING begins.  He would be willing to play through a great deal of pain for the sake of that victor’s ring because he know’s everything is at stake and the end is in sight.

We who are Christians, who stands on the edge of history should arm ourselves with the ATTITUDE that says, I can see the goal line and it’s worth any price to obtain it!

That’s the ATTITUDE that free’s us to do God’s will in our lives.

That’s NOT the Way We Used to Live, however.

VERSES 3-4

VERSE 3 actually is a direct contrast to Verse 2,  It literally says enough time has been spent doing the will of nations (worldliness) in CONTRAST to our NEW ATTITUDE which frees us to do the “will of God”–we used to live our lives to PLEASE the World and ourselves; not anymore.

And now the World doesn’t understand this new attitude of ours; why we don’t plunge into a life of SENSUAL PLEASURE–drunkenness, sensual immorality, worshipping money and fame.  The will of the WORLD summed up in the phrase “If it feels good, do it!”

Secondly, as Christians living at the end of times, we should have…AN AWARENESS OF ACCOUNTING.

To live as followers of Christ we need to understand that AN END IS COMING!

Coaches begin to watch the clock very carefully inside the TWO MINUTE WARNING.  It’s important to know where they stand in the time they have left.

Peter says that we need to understand the end is near and living in this time requires clear headedness, self-control, allowing us to keep in communication with the Coach.

It is important as well that we understand what “the end” means–that it means there will be an ACCOUNTING…whether we are LIVING when that time arrives, OR…whether we have already passed on, that we’ll give an account to our lives.

Even those who have gone before us will be judged and this is why they needed the GOSPEL too–it’s not just for those who will be living when the ACCOUNTING comes.  And when those who have gone before us put their TRUST in Christ Jesus, thought by human standards being judged GUILTY, in the spirit, they live everlasting because of the work of Christ.

As we sit on the edge of history’s end, we must be aware that Christ will judge the living and the dead.  We then must consider how we will be judged on that day.  Our DEEDS will be laid before Him.

Woe unto us on that day if our SINS are not covered by the BLOOD of Jesus.

Those who trust the SAVING GRACE of Jesus whose BLOOD was shed on Cross, understanding that only HIS BLOOD can cleanse them; that nothing we could ever do or say will make us worthy.

Those who have put their TRUST in Him alone…ALSO, commit their lives to Him–to live for Him, not to earn His affection, but to demonstrate our affection–because we have been ARMED with the ATTITUDE of Christ.

And because we are aware of an ACCOUNTING…

Third, as Christians living during the “TWO MINUTE WARNING” we should be…

ABOVE ALL AFFECTIONATE (Verses 8-9)

[8] Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  [9] Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  (NIV)

More important than anything else is LOVE.  

JESUS’ top TWO LIST was this:  Love God, Love your neighbor–everything else, He said, All of the Scripture is tied up in those TWO!

Church tradition says that when the Apostle John, the beloved disciple, became too old to even walk, used to ask to be carried to the local church meetings, go before the assembly of believers and say only this:  “Little children, love one another.”  Well, that sounds sweet enough but after a while, it started to get on people’s nerves.  Finally, the elders of the church went to John and asked him why do you keep saying that?  His reply was short and to the point:  “Because it is our Lord’s command and because it’s enough!”

LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS.

The Lord knows as well as my wife, I have a multitude of sins.  That said, my wife also knows that I LOVE her.  Sometimes I hurt her feelings and I’ll demonstrate that LOVE in a tangible way–in an exercise that some have said is a “suck up gift”.  But that “suck up gift” works NOT because I spend money, but because she knows that I genuinely care deeply about her!

But it works the other way too.  Our LOVE for others covers a multitude of OUR sins toward them but our SIN should also cover a multitude of THEIR sins.  About 70 times seven I’d say.

There’s one last thing I want to mention that we should do as Christians while living at the end of time.  That’s ADMINISTERING GOD’S ANOINTING (vs. 10-11 a).

Each one of us should use whatever GIFT he/she has received from the Holy Spirit to SERVE others, faithfully administrating God’s GRACE in its various forms (verse 11).

Here is this passage of Scripture, Peter urges us to be “faithful stewards” of the GIFTS God has given to each one of us.  And as ADMINISTRATORS (Stewards) of God’s GRACE in various forms, that is of the gifts that God has given YOU (put your name in place of the word “you”), NOT for your pleasure but for His, to SERVE OTHERS.

And notice also that emphasis is given here as it has in the passages found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, to the fact that these Spiritual Gifts are exercised not in our own strength BUT in the strength of the Lord.  And this is the part that makes it important for us who live in History’s TWO MINUTE WARNING…to OPERATE in the GRACE (the FAVOR) God gives to us through SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

So as the BUZZER, the whistle approaches (or actually, as the TRUMPET sounds),  we must work in God’s strength, FAITHFULLY ADMINISTERING as good stewards, God’s Anointing in its various forms.

Conclusion:

ARMED with an ATTITUDE that says I have my eyes on a prize above and I can’t be distracted by the pleasures below.

AWARE of the ACCOUNTING–keeping our focus and ready for that day!

Above all AFFECTIONATE–because it’s the Lord’s command and because it’s enough!

And ADMINISTERING faithfully God’s Anointing that through HIS STRENGTH we might accomplish ALL that He has for each one of us as the day approaches!

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CREDITS –

VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY of Old and New Testament Words.

PHOTOS:  Advance Settings–Gooogle Image Search.

Bible Translations:  The New International Version (NIV), EXCEPT WHERE NOTED.

 

 

 

There’s A Big Difference Between Commitment and Involvement

TEXT: JOSHUA 24:1, 14-16

 

LIFE IS FILLED WITH CHOICES –

  • We must choose when to go to bed and when to get up.
  • We must choose what to eat and what not to eat.
  • We must choose what to wear and what not to wear.
  • We choose what to do with our time.
  • We choose when we’ll go to work and where we’ll go out to eat.

Now I must admit since I’ve gotten older and retired 15 years ago, the choices have changed…a lot!  But there are still choices to make.

Some choices are easy to make while other choices are more difficult to make.

WE ARE WHO WE ARE TODAY BECAUSE OF THE CHOICES WE MADE YESTERDAY.

The CHOICES we make today have an impact on the decisions we’ll be making tomorrow.

They establish a PATTERN and a FOUNDATION for our life.  That said, most of us haven’t always made the right choices…Okay, ALL of us haven’t.  You and I may never be able to undo those choices…BUT….I have some good news for you.  HE, who holds our tomorrow, is more than able to turn it around for us.

So after reading through the Book of Joshua and writing several Blog-studies, I want to focus on the only RIGHT CHOICE we each can make.

In the last chapter of JOSHUA, it begins presenting what is often called Joshua’s FAREWELL ADDRESS.

The first mentioning of Joshua given is the picture of an HONORABLE MAN–one that you would want to follow.  In his early years, he was sent as a representative of Ephraim to spy out the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:1-33).  He and Caleb seem to be a different standard than the other spies–the exciting voice speaking out with enthusiastic optimism about their ability to take the LAND–

  • Let’s do it!
  • We can take it!
  • We can take them!

I wondered as I read in Joshua what it was that caused this nation to follow a leader such as he.  Was it FAITH?  Was it youthful exuberance”

Who can tell, but a leader is what Israel needed as they awaited moving forward in the new campaign–CROSSING THE RIVER!

A Brief Review of Joshua’s Life –

JOSHUA is now quite old in the last chapter, and he has seen a lot over a period of 110 years.

His early formative years he spent in service to Moses.  In his later years, he spent leading God’s people into battle to the promised land.  He’d seen the PLAGUES OF EGYPT, the parting of the Red Sea.  He has endured the trip through the desert to the edge of the promised land, then the trip back into the wilderness for 40 years of wandering in the wasteland.

He saw God part the Jordan river.  He saw God crumble the walls of Jericho, sending the enemies into a panic.  He also saw the PUNISHMENT OF ACHAN after his sin,  He then saw the RESTORATION OF THE BLESSING–not ‘a blessing’ but “the blessing.”  The presence of God.

He’s led a full life and he has known the POWER and the PRESENCE OF THE LIVING GOD in his life and in his leadership.

At the ripe old age of 110, Joshua recognizes his death is near.

JOSHUA’S Last Days Are Where We Find Ourselves –

I wonder what the Israelites might be thinking at this point of history.  They understood after all those years, their campaign was now coming to a close and a LEADER is leaving his parting words on his people.

Joshua’s Life Is Coming to an End.

There’s a transition to take place.  From a people consumed with getting the other people out of the land to being a people in the land.  So Joshua asks this nation, who will you SERVE now that you are NOT FOCUSED on the conquests?  Will you return to the gods you used to worship, or will you SERVE YHWH?  Like me and my family.

There’s a back and forth going on between Joshua and the gathered ELDERS-HEADS-JUDGES-OFFICERS.  They are gathered at the same place where after Ai was finally captured, in Shechem–Joshua calls his people together for another COVENANT invitation.

JOSHUA 24:1 (AMP)

[1] THEN JOSHUA gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders of Israel and their heads, their judges, and their officers; they presented themselves before God.

In this FIRST VERSE, as I read in preparation for this BLOG study, really caught my attention.  Joshua called for the LEADERS of God’s people and they were where they were supposed to be.

We should know where the LEADERS of the Church are located.

They were on their post and Joshua knew, if no one else was around, the LEADERS were at their post and were committed.  You cannot LEAD if you can’t be found.

LEADERS then should be out front in the congregation.

Joshua before addressing the nation of Israel called upon and challenged the Leaders FIRST.  He challenged them to be more than INVOLVED…to be COMMITTED!

THE POLITICAL AND MILITARY CENTER OF GOD’S PEOPLE –

Joshua challenges their ABILITY TO BE FAITHFUL.  Now that’s an interesting thought!  If we can’t be FAITHFUL to God, we can’t be FAITHFUL to the Church.  If we’re not FAITHFUL to God, we won’t be faithful to any ministry we’re in.  To put it simply, if not FAITHFUL to God, you don’t have the ABILITY to be FAITHFUL!

  • Staying at home on Sunday mornings don’t bother you.
  • Staying home on Thursday nights from prayer and private worship don’t bother you.
  • Staying at home at 3:30 PM on Fridays at the Alzheimer/Dementia section in town doesn’t bother you.

Then You are Involved and not Committed.

YOU ARE FAITHFUL TO THOSE THINGS THAT YOU ARE COMMITTED TO –

This, of course, applies to all areas of our lives.  As an example, if we’re not committed to weight loss, then we will not be faithful in the process.  Ever start college or trade school?  If we’re not committed to the process then we will not be faithful in going to class and study (been there!).  And when it comes to marriage…ok, I’ll leave that alone.

The Mood Has Changed from the Beginning of this OT book…

When God’s people were wandering in the wilderness, they found themselves fighting and defending their little nation.  Joshua now reviews the conquest campaign, as well as a history lesson with God, being good to God’s COVENANTAL AGREEMENT.

He then concludes his message with a personal statement regarding his family’s FIDELITY in VERSE 15:

NOTICE, Joshua doesn’t say, “as for me and my people,” rather, he states, as for me and MY FAMILY, or “household”.  WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.

It appears Israel was fit for a battle campaign but now the question arises, are they fit for settling in the land and trusting God in a new way campaign?

Ultimately, isn’t that the most any of us can say?

  • In spite of what I decide to do…
  • In spite of my commitment level,
  • In spite of what I want to do with my time,
  • In spite of how I feel about supporting the Church…

Me and My Family Will Serve the Lord!

With POSSESSION of the Promised Land comes great Responsibility –

It now becomes your DUTY to take what you have already secured and passed it along to the next generation.  But as far as Joshua goes, his BATTLE DAYS are coming to a close.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know there are plenty more battles to be fought but Joshua’s time has come to a close.  After all the BATTLES, the slaughter, and the delivery of land, the ONLY THING Joshua can have control is he and his family.

Opportunity Is Knocking At The Front Door –

I’m sure the compiler of the conquest narrative more than likely lives in the aftermath of these days, in the time of Judges– when the people of God were all too quick to forget this covenant.  So they knew Joshua’s hesitation reaffirmed the COVENANT for a good reason.

But the people say: “No! We will serve the Lord.”  

They could have said:  “Well Pastor, this weekend is my time to sleep in.”

Here was the opportunity to walk away, to be more honest, to pledge just partial commitment, to say, “Pastor you know I work all week!”

BUT THEY DIDN’T!

Joshua needs them to know and understand the gravity of their being A COVENANT PEOPLE.  To ensure they really wanted to be God’s people IN THE LAND, not just A PEOPLE IN THE LAND.

A STANDARD OF SERVICE DEMANDED (24:14 NIV) –

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness.”

Joshua doesn’t leave any room for CASUAL FAITH, for serving God when it’s convenient or when things are going well, or when life is easy.  He doesn’t leave room for doing FAITH on our terms.  He calls us to SERVE ‘with ALL faithfulness.’

What if in our serving there’s no reward, no appreciation?

Joshua says, “serve Him in sincerity and in truth” (AMP).

There is A RESPONSIBILITY OF CHOICE that goes along with Commitment –

With the right to choose comes the responsibility to choose.  You can’t defer this CHOICE to anyone else.  It’s easy to say if I had a better Husband or Wife; if we had a better Preacher; to say if only others in the church were committed.  We cannot defer or place our CHOICES on others.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”  (24:15)

I just want to add here…THE RECORD OF CHOICE.

It has always been LIFE or DEATH, BLESSING or CURSES.

  • Adam and Eve CHOSE Death.
  • Ananias and Sapphira CHOSE Death.
  • The Rich Young Ruler CHOSE Death.
  • King Agrippa CHOSE Death.
  • Pontius Pilate CHOSE Death.
  • Judas CHOSE Death.

BUT…

  • Lazarus CHOSE Life.
  • Abraham CHOSE Life.
  • Paul CHOSE Life.
  • Peter CHOSE Life.

There is a Record of the Repercussions of the Choices you make.

Which Do We Choose?

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO SERVE?

It was fairly easy for the Israelites to worship other gods–these gods didn’t demand much.

  • It was EASY to carry a wooden carving.
  • It was EASY to throw a bit of grain at an altar.
  • It was EASY to bow to the sun.

BUT GOD DEMANDS “ALL”!

It’s relatively EASY for us to carry our own dreams and desires and live for them.  It’s also EASY to throw a bit of money at a charitable cause.  It’s relatively EASY for us to raise our hands and shout praise to a local sports hero.

BUT GOD DEMANDS ALL!

Maybe Joshua is getting less patient with age.  I recognize I’m less patient since growing older.

So Joshua lays it out bluntly–either SERVE the Lord WITH ALL FAITHFULNESS or, if you don’t like that, CHOOSE some other god to serve.  It will probably be a lot easier serving another god for they don’t demand much.

AND BY THE WAY, NEITHER DO THEY OFFER MUCH IN RETURN.

Because of GOD’S GRACE, we are invited into relationship with God.  Because of GOD’S GRACE, Jesus came and died for us and bridged the chasm that separated us from God.

Now we are invited to be in a relationship with God, invited into a reunion with the Holy and jealous God Joshua describes. 

God gives us the GRACE to SERVE Him for we can’t serve Him on our own efforts.

But Here is the HEART of the Gospel:  We can serve a holy and jealous God because He has invited us to by His Grace.

NOW IT’S TIME TO MAKE A CHOICE.

  • To put that god of Alcohol away.
  • To throw away the gods of drugs, opioids, pornography…

To come to the altar, on your knees if you need to.

Today is the day to CHOOSE LIFE and follow God.

“Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”

 

LISTEN TO THE WORDS TO THIS MUSIC/VIDEO:

 

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CREDITS –

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search – Settings advanced.

Music Video:  As for Me and My House – John Waller/Youtube.com

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

 

 

What Are the Motives Behind Our Serving God?

jehurides SCRIPTURE READING – 2 KINGS 9:1-37; 10:1-35

Before grabbing your Bible and diving into this story, let me give you but one definition for the word MOTIVE:

“An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action; causing an action.”  [The Free Dictionary by Farlex]

We will be returning to this definition throughout this bible study.

“HOUSE CLEANING” –

My wife’s “desire” for an entire house cleaning, most often, does not necessarily incite action.  It is much like my DESIRE to exercise, knowing it’s physiologically healthy, but almost never causes an action on my part.  I am glad to get that off my chest before getting into this particular Blog Bible Study.

JEHU’S Commission from God –

A PROPHET was sent to pronounce God’s death sentence on AHAB (1 Kings 20:42) because of his DISOBEDIENCE of not killing Ben-Hadad, king of Aram.

Elijah later prophesied AHAB’S doom in 1 Kings 21:19 after he had murdered Naboth and seized his property (vineyard); the results in 1 Kings 22:38. 

Elijah prophesies AHAB’S descendants would be cut off and his wife JEZEBEL would be killed (1 Kings 21:22-24).

Because of AHAB’S subsequent humbling of himself before God, God took notice (as He always does), choosing to bring about these promised disasters during the reign of his son Joram, instead of in AHAB’S lifetime (1 Kings 21:27-29).

JEHU, a commander in the Israelite Army, is anointed king and commissioned to exterminate AHAB’S descendants (2 Kings 9:6-10), fulfilling the prophecies against the house of AHAB.

JEHU’S “ZEAL FOR THE LORD” in Cleaning House–the house (dynasty) of Omri and his son AHAB (2 Kings 10:16) –

The Killing Fields ~

  • JEHU kills Joram, king of Israel and AHAB’S son (2 Kings 9:24-26).  Joram’s body was thrown on Naboth’s plot of ground, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Elijah (1 Kings 21:19).
  • JEHU kills Ahaziah, king of Judah, one of Ahab’s grandsons (2 Kings 9:27; 2 Chronicles 22:7 explains how Ahaziah’s visit to Joram was used by God to bring about his downfall).  He also kills some of king Ahaziah’s relatives who were coming to visit (2 Kings 10:12-14).
  • JEHU has JEZEBEL thrown out of a window.  She is then trampled and eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:32-37).
  • He incites the officials of Samaria who were rearing 70 sons of AHAB, to kill all the royal princes (2 Kings 10:6-9).
  • JEHU KILLED ANYONE RELATED TO, OR ASSOCIATED WITH AHAB IN JEZREEL (2 Kings 10:11) and ALL his family in Samaria!  (2 Kings 10:17).
  • His final achievement was his killing of ALL THE BAAL PRIESTS, destroying the Baal Temple to the point it became used as a latrine–an outhouse.  (2 Kings 10:25-29)

For all of JEHU’S enthusiastic ZEAL, God rewarded him with the longest dynasty in the history of Israel (2 Kings 10:30).  But, did JEHU have an alternative MOTIVE behind his ZEAL?

JEHU’S MOTIVES EXPOSED and JUDGED!

The prophet HOSEA gives us a glimpse in exposing something I thought was quite interesting.

Hosea 1:4 (NIV):

Then the LORD said to Hosea,  “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.”

God was going to punish the house of JEHU for a massacre He had sanctioned and rewarded JEHU for (2 Kings 10:30).  

I thought to myself after reading this, “Wait a minute.  Jehu seemed like an obedient servant of the Lord.  What’s the deal?”

Outside Appearances Are Not Always As They Seem! –

2 Kings 10:28-29, 31 (AMP):

[28] JEHU rooted Baal out of Israel,  [29] BUT…

JEHU did not give up the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he made Israel to sin,that is, the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

[31] But JEHU paid no attention to walking in the law of the Lord the God of Israel, with all his heart.  He did not quit the sins with which Jeroboam made Israel to sin.

At my first reading, I found that strange, being that JEHU had exterminated Baal worship.  What happened to his ZEAL ( 2 Kings 10:16) that alone, should have led him to ridding a nation of every sort of idol worship?

I believe it never was purely there to begin with.  I also believe that JEHU’S AGENDA didn’t really include God.

JEHU, by cleaving, against the will of God, to Jeroboam’s SIN, which served his own political ends, showed that, in the slaughter of his master, he acted not as he pretended, out of ZEAL for God’s will, but served his own will and ambition.  [See Footnote [1] ]

Getting rid of Baal served his interests but getting rid of the Jeroboam calf idols cut in on his own political gains.

A sure sign of God’s immediate JUDGMENT on JEHU is found in 2 Kings 10:32; His reducing of the size of Israel.

[32] “[So] in those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel…”

While JEHU might have “slept with his fathers” as V35 says, meaning his physical death, I can assure you, that is NOT descriptive of what has been taking place for thousands of years in hell with his soul.

My JUDGMENT?  No, GOD’S JUDGMENT!

THE MOTIVES BEHIND OUR SERVICE TO GOD –

Some examples of SERVICE with impure motives is serving God out of SELFISH AMBITION.

The apostle Paul gave examples of selfish ambition in Philippians 1:14-18 (NIV):

[14]  Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

[15]  It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.

[16]  The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

[17]  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

[18]  But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this, I rejoice.

Although Paul is speaking about preachers trying to make a name for themselves in his absence,  A. W. Tozer says,

“Many a solo is sung to show off, many a sermon is preached

as an exhibition of talent; many a church is founded as a slap to

some other church.  Even missionary activity

may become competitive and soul-winning’

may degenerate into a sort of brush-salesman project

to satisfy the flesh.”

[*See Footnote [2] ]

Serving God out of GREED –

Paul wrote about FALSE TEACHERS in 1 Timothy 6:3-10, who saw financial opportunity in the Gospel.  Unfortunately, that is still in place in the 21st Century in record numbers.

Serving God without LOVE –

HIDDEN MOTIVES
HIDDEN MOTIVES

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (AMP):

IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing.  Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

Our SERVICE to God is but an empty service…a service without LOVE for others.

IMPURE MOTIVES –

“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.”  ~ A. W. TOZER

GOD KNOWS YOUR MOTIVES!!

God is examining your MOTIVES.

Proverbs 16:2 (NLT):

“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.

God will reveal your MOTIVES.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV):

[12]  The word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  [13]  Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

1 Corinthians 4:5b (NIV):

“He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”

Over the years, I have noticed how some people treat God like a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card that they discard after He gets them out of their problems.

Some people climb the Church ladder of success much like folks climb the Corporate ladder.  They truly don’t care who they step over.

They wear their RELIGION like a cloak over their desires–camouflaged hearts– for 4-x4-camo-camouflage-heart-gas-cap-bumper-sticker-decal-window-stickers-decalsfolks to see them as spiritual.

They may speak in tongues and be used in great gifts of the Spirit, but their lack of LOVE for others reveals a HEART with impure motives.

So, why do we do, what we do, in SERVING our heavenly Father.

Why Are You Serving God?

Are you serving God out of interest in His plan for you, or, are you SERVING HIM to the extent that what He does benefits your plan for your life?

Why we SERVE won’t mean a hill of beans in the end, unless we truly had ZEAL for the Lord, rather than wearing a Cloak of sorts over who we really are.

Therefore, check your MOTIVES FOR SERVING CHRIST…today!!


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Footnote [1]:  Barnes – Notes on the Old Testament – (2 Kings 10)

Footnote [2]:  Draper’s book of Quotations for the Christian World – A. W. TOZER; by Edythe Draper.

 

CREDITS:

Commentary:  Why Did God Condemn Jehu?  By Troy Lacey and Tim Chaffey on April 8, 2011 – The Misconception Series.

Photos:  Google Image Search.

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

 

 

 

 

“Yep, You Are One Of A Kind!”

TEXT: Exodus 31:1-11  *[Note: It would be helpful in reading this POST, if your Bible was near]. 

You're One-of-a-Kind
You’re One-of-a-Kind

 

Psalm 33:15 (a):  “He made their hearts”

YOU ARE UNIQUE – [See Footnote [i] for the following]

“You are unique.  Even though you share many things in common among other people, you are essentially one of a kind.  No one else has been given exactly the same makeup as God has given you.  Your face, your fingerprints, your voice, and your genetic makeup are matched by no one else’s.  Likewise, God has handcrafted you with your personality, your unique set of talents and motivations, and your special “bent in life.”

After reading the above source, I find that it all means one thing–you and I have a “one of a kind,” unique purpose set before us in life.

As an older brother by seven years, I’m sure my little brother believed while growing up, my unique purpose in life: To irritate him in any way I could.

According to the verses in Exodus 31, God gave BEZALEL the ability to work with gold, silver, stone and other materials.  God had placed in this man one of a kind abilities, and now God was planning to use these talents He placed in Bezalel to His glory.

[1] AND THE Lord said to Moses,  [2] See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.  [3] And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and ability, in understanding and intelligence, and in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship.”

God wants to use your originality for His glory.

Notice the Interesting Progression that Takes Place.

God gets right to the point of a command in our lives.  He doesn’t go around commanding everybody but has an unusual way; a unique way, on how He prepares each one of us for a specific task.

1.  GOD CALLS US (Vs. 2):

BEZALEL was called by name and God knew what He wanted accomplished.

It’s not hard for God to pick who He wants for a specific task, He already knows who He wants–He prepared them.  It’s not like in grade school–hoping we would get picked for a team.

GOD picked Bezalel because He PREPARED Bezalel–so He called the man He wanted by name–“Bezalel, step forward, I have a job for you.”

God has called you by name.  

You are one of a kind to Him because He already prepared you for the task at hand.  You’re NOT on the sideline waiting to be chosen; if you are a Christian, God has already called you.

Do you know your calling?  God has PROMISED to reveal it to you if you will ask, seek, and knock.

2.  GOD APPOINTS US (Vs. 6):

“And behold, I have appointed with him Aholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and to ALL who are wisehearted I have given wisdom and ability to make all that I have commanded you:”

Proverbs 10:8 says, “A WISE HEART takes orders; an empty head will come unglued”  (The Message).

Over the years, God has called me to do special jobs in the Kingdom: Write, produce and direct Christian Drama; sing in choirs, ensembles; teach and of course write weekly blogs.

Under the Law, God chose Prophets, Priests and kings by placing His ANOINTING on them to accomplish His mission.

God’s Grace…

In this period of GRACE or the CHURCH AGE, God places His ANOINTING on believers to accomplish His plan on the earth today.

We ALL RECEIVE His Spirit when we entered into the Kingdom of God, but God gives an extra measure of His anointing; those who “seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness.”

What comes next?

In Exodus 31, the next thing that happens after God’s call of BEZALEL is that He APPOINTS others to work along side of him. We all need help.

God’s Calling–

For the sake of discussion, a looking at this point is the next step God takes in each of us.  For instance, for God to APPOINT Aholiab, Aholiab had to be first CALLED by God.

Before the Apostles were appointed as apostles, they first had to be called.  Aholiab had to first ANSWER the call before he could be appointed to help.

Before God can APPOINT you, you must ANSWER the call.  When you do, He’ll appoint you to a task.  Like Aholiab was appointed for a specific task, you have been appointed.

3.  GOD DOES THE GIVING (Vs. 6 b ):

DOES GOD CALL us before He gives us a skill–doesn’t matter.  God GIVES the skill.

DOES GOD APPOINT us before He gives us a skill–doesn’t matter.  God GIVES the skill.

You are so “one of a kind” to God; so unique where you live, where you go to church, where you work, that He has given you a specific skill to fulfill the call in your life.

Many people are slow to answer the call for SERVICE because they fear their work is not good enough; they feel that the work that is noticed is the only way to serve.  But that’s not true.

God needed men like Moses, Aaron and Joshua…

BUT…God also needed Bezalel!  The work God called him to do was such importance, God gave him a special anointing for the task.

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God” ~ verse 3 a.

–  Moses had the spirit of Administration and prophecy.

–  Aaron had the spirit for the priesthood.

–  Joshua had the spirit for conquest.

BUT…Bezalel had the spirit for design and building–he was certainly one of a kind.

Sometimes we question why God does things the way He does–chooses some people and not others.  Let’s try to remember that HIS GIFTS are distributed, not as we will, but as He wills.  So if this question, “Why not me?” enters your heart, get over it!

There’s something in our name–

I find it interesting and informative when looking up given names and their meanings.  My given name is MELVIN DALE… its meaning is as follows: “Mel”–Chief.  “Dale” means a valley.  So putting them together, “Chief of the Valley” or ‘strong leader,’ and the meaning has played out in my life.

BEZALEL ‘s [ BEZALEEL, BESELEEL]  name means “under God’s shadow”  [See Footnote [ii] ].  He never became the great statesman and organizer that Moses did–nor even “chief of the valley”.

His voice was never heard to preach to the Israelite assembly.

Neither was he qualified to the priesthood.

He was not gifted in military, was not able to go along with Joshua’s adventures in the forefront of Israel’s army.

Yet this man had a DIVINE GIFT, a “spiritual anointing” to fulfill the task.  And yes, he truly was, “One of a kind.”

Service to the Lord —

So, would you rather find yourself in the ANOINTING first or the TITLE before your name?

Finding Ourselves in the “Shadow of God’s Wings”–

EXODUS 19:4
EXODUS 19:4

GOD equates Himself with a bird in Scripture when He tells the Israelites that He carried them on “eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself” (Exodus 19:4).

Again Scripture gives us encouragement in serving with the “spiritual anointing”— Psalm 63:7

~A Psalm of David~

“For You have been my help and

in the shadow of Your wings

will I rejoice.”

4.  GOD COMMANDS US  (Vs. 6 c):

Whenever it is that God puts the skills in us  is debatable but the COMMAND always comes at the end.  God doesn’t command us to do something if He hasn’t first, called us; second, appointed us; and thirdly, put the skill in us.

You Are One Of A Kind:

No one else has your abilities and talents combined–with your own unique personality and standing in life– to the job God has called you to do.

The New Year’s Challenge – “How does God want me to serve?”

SEEK GOD’S CALLING IN YOUR LIFE.

Let the BEZALEL ANOINTING rest on your work, it may be just a “hello” to someone, a kind word to a friend, maybe a cup of water in the name of the Lord.

Whatever the task, know that you’re ONE OF A KIND in the Kingdom of God and do it with all of your might!

“Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.  Knowing [with all certainly] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward.  [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah)”  (Colossians 3:23-24 AMP).

 


Footnotes:  [i] Urbana.org;  [ii] Harper’s Bible Dictionary/Bezaleel, pg. 110.

Bible Translations: Amplified Bible; The Message.

Photo Credits:  Photo Pin; Google Images/Exodus 19:4.

 

JESUS: There’s Something About That Name

Text: Hebrews 1:3; Philippians 2:9-11

Well, it’s the Christmas Season once more (2013).  And like most people, I love to put some old CD’s on and listen to my all-time favorites.  One of those favorites, although not traditionally known as a Christmas song, in my mind… is certainly a CHRISTMAS SONG:                         There’s Something About That Name.  

In 1970, Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote the music and lyrics to favorite of mine:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus;

There’s just something about that name!

Master, Savior, Jesus,

Like the fragrance after the rain,

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,

Let all heaven and earth proclaim;

Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,

But there’s something about that name!

Each one of us possesses a name…

This name given to us is usually by our parents.  Perhaps we were named after some relative, or were just given a name our parents liked.  Whatever the reason, however you came by your name, it probably came with no great significance.

My name for the record, is Melvin Dale…  MEL means “chief”; DALE means “valley”.  Put them together…Chief of the Valley.  Did my parents have any idea of the meaning before they named me?  Not so.  DALE is my father’s middle name and MELVIN came from my mother’s brother who died in infancy.

THE “POWER” THAT THE NAME OF JESUS HOLDS!

When we say Father (God), we’re immediately in the presence of God; we immediately have His full attention.  Have you ever really thought how awesome that is?

We Serve A Mighty God!  We Serve An Almighty God!

God certainly loves us, but He also expects us to worship and serve Him.

God calls us to be “servants”…Romans 6:18, 22:

[18] Having been set free from sin, you have become servants of righteousness.”

[22] Now since (you–insert your own name) have been set free from sin and have become SLAVES…[servants] of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.”

The word “servant” sometimes makes the hair on our arms stand up straight.  We might be thinking as we hear the word, “I’m not a ‘servant’, I’m a child of a King.”   So, we often put our own definition behind what the word conveys… making it more palatable as we swallow it.

8113389762_13766f8b8a“PALATABLE” EXAMPLES: In Giving Football Terms to Our Religious Experiences on Sundays–

Many of us our big fans to American Football.  Our entire life is surrounded by the local teams, college or professional.  We get enthused, even excited over the possibilities that come from attending the “Big Game.”

I found during my detective investigation this week of FOOTBALL EXAMPLES that could be applied to some of our expressions in “serving” on Sunday mornings in America:

GAME DAY:

QUARTERBACK SNEAK – When church participants leave during the invitation.

DRAW PLAY What many children do to the bulletin during worship.

HALF-TIME – The period between Sunday school and worship when many attendees choose to leave.

BENCH-WARMER – Those who do not sing, pray, work, or apparently do anything but sit.

BACKFIELD-IN-MOTION – (I sometimes would like to throw a” penalty flag” here)  Making a trip to the back restroom or water fountain during the service.

STAYING IN THE POCKET – What happens to the “offering” and the “tithe” that should be given joyfully.

TWO-MINUTE WARNING The point at which you realize your pastor’s message is almost over and begin to gather up the kids and belongings.

SUDDEN DEATH – What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the pastor/preacher goes “overtime.”

TRAP – You’re called on to pray and are asleep with your eyes open.

END RUNGetting out of church quickly, without speaking to any guest or others gathered on Sunday.

HALFBACK OPTION –  The decision of 50% of the congregation to…NOT return to the evening service.

THE BLITZThe rush for the nearest restaurant following the closing prayer (personally one of my favorites).

WHAT MAKES THE NAME OF JESUS SO POWERFUL?

2735461489_203a7f5316Well for one, God said Himself that it was so:  “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,”  (Philippians 2:9 NIV).

Hebrews 1:3 further explains the POWER of the  Name of Jesus:

“He [JESUS] is the sole expression of the glory of God, and He [JESUS] is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power.  When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high”  (Amplified and the Word Detective’s adding for emphasis). 

“All Hail the “Power” of Jesus’ Name”

That old hymn written by Edward Perronet was based upon the bible verse… “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised” – Psalm 145:3:

“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!  Let angels prostrate fall;  Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him  Lord of all”.

BIBLE VERSES CONCERNING THE “POWER” OF JESUS’ NAME AND THE BENEFITS:

Acts 2:28:  And Peter answered them,  REPENT (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be BAPTIZED, every one of you, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the (gift) of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 4:30:  While You stretch out Your hand to cure and to perform signs and wonders through the authority and by the POWER of the NAME of Your holy Child and Servant JESUS.

Acts 8:12:  But when they BELIEVED the good news (the Gospel) about the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST  (the Messiah)  as Philip preached it, they were BAPTIZED, both men and women.

Colossians 3:17:  And whatever you do  [no matter what it is]  in word or deed, DO EVERYTHING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

Now there are several more bible verses pertaining to the POWER of Jesus’ Name:  John 14:13, 14; John 16:24; Mark 9:39; 16:17,  just to mention a few.  I’m sure you have many more written on your heart (and your refrigerator).

How We Should Use the Name of JESUS.

[10] That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,    [11] And every tongue  [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father”  (Philippians 2:10, 11 AMP).

Right now, those who believe in JESUS acknowledge Him in this lifetime as Lord and Savior; they already have the POWER and AUTHORITY to use His Name because He says so in His Word.

Those who do not believe, don’t have the authority to use the power in Jesus’ Name.  But one day, every tongue, yes the unsaved… and in heaven, earth, or under the earth will bow down and accept Jesus.  Unfortunately, the outcome of living an eternity in Hell, is made clear at the time of judgement.

“But I don’t believe in Hell!”

Whether you believe in something or not; it doesn’t change the truth of God’s Word.

God has set the NAME of His Son Jesus above every other name.

That Is The Lord We Serve–

We serve a Mighty Master…

We serve a Risen Savior…

He is exalted (Lifted up) above all others…

Jesus sits on the right hand of God…

Today, He is our intercessor (our mediator, our go-between) with God.

JESUS’ NAME IS POWERFUL BECAUSE…

WHOEVER CALLS UPON IT WILL BE SAVED!

“And it shall be that whoever shall call upon the NAME of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord–Christ] SHALL BE SAVED”  (Acts 2:21).

“This  [Jesus]  is the Stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which has become the Head of the corner  [the Cornerstone].    And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other NAME under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved”  (Acts 4:11, 12).

BUDDHA can’t SAVE you…

MOHAMMED can’t SAVE you…

No other name can save you; only the NAME OF JESUS leads to your salvation.

Why Don’t We Apply the “Power”?

The POWER to heal, to perform MIRACLES, cast our demons…?

We FAIL to give Him our problems to Him because we really don’t believe He will or can handle them.

We will TRUST Him for the most important thing we have, our salvation, but we won’t trust Him with our troubles and problems.  We forget about the POWER IN JESUS’ NAME that is available to those who believe!

The “Exousia” :

The Greek word for “authority” is exousia, or as Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary explains: “freedom of action, right to act; delegated authority…”;  all in the name of Jesus.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name”  (John 1:12 King James Version).

A Faith Believing Story from Smith Wigglesworth–

Smith Wigglesworth was a British evangelist, born June 8, 1859 and died March 12, 1947.

This true story of his carries the theme of my POST,    “All things are possible through the Name of Jesus” …if we have the FAITH to let it be done!

“THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME” –

I want to instill into you through the following story of Mr. Wigglesworth,  a sense of POWER, the virtue and glory of that Name.

Six people went into the house of a sick man to pray for him.  He was an Episcopalian vicar who lay on his bed helpless without strength to help himself.

He had read a little tract about healing, heard people praying for the sick and had sent for these friends, who he thought, would pray the prayer of faith.  

He was anointed according to James 5:14, but…because he had no immediate manifestation of healing, he wept bitterly.

The six people then walked out, discouraged to see the man lying there unchanged by the condition.  When the six friends were outside, one of them said,  “There is one thing we might have done.  I wish we could all go back in and try it.”

They went back inside and all got together.  This one brother said,  “Let us whisper the name of Jesus.”  At first, nothing seemed to happen.  But as they continued to whisper, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”, the POWER began to fall.  As they saw God was beginning to work their faith… joy increased; and they whispered the NAME louder and louder.

As they did so, the man arose from his bed and dressed himself.  The secret?  Those men had taken their eyes off the sick man, taken up with the Lord Jesus Himself, and their faith grasped the POWER that there is in His Name.

O, if people would only appreciate their God-given AUTHORITY in the POWER there is in this NAME, there is no telling what could happen.

THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THE NAME OF JESUS!

http://stephencuyos.com

Operating At MAXIMUM Output – PART 1

Well, the London 2012 Summer Olympics; the XXX Olympiad is almost upon us, starting July 27 to August 12, 2012.  Although I’m not personally a TRACK and FIELD guy, the Men’s Decathlon competition is simply amazing to me.  There are a total of ten events over a two-day period, even going into the darkness of night before they’re through competing.  Here are the events:

1.  100-meter run.

2.  Long Jump.

3.  Shot put.

4.  High Jump.

5.  400-meter run.

6.  110-meter hurdles.

7.  Discus.

8.  Pole vault.

9.  Javelin throw.

10.  1500 meter run.

The achievement of completing all ten events in two days is worthy of great honor in the athletic world.  It seems overwhelming to me that the human body functions in this capacity.  Most people can barely get their BODY up out of bed on Sunday morning, ease it over to the chair and sit it down; ease it out to the kitchen and set it down.  Then sit it down in your car, get to church and sit it down there, trying to stay awake.  Then return home and sit it down and take an afternoon nap.  That is NOT God’s intention; not what He had in mind in making our bodies.

Some of us don’t understand what it means, “That we would have strength; renewed like eagles.”  We can’t RELATE to it.  We’re sort of PHYSICAL SPARROWS at best!

What is amazing to me is to see the human body FUNCTION at MAXIMUM output.  It is incredible!  You can only see that kind of specimen in action, to see the POTENTIAL  God has placed within the human body for activity; the capacity and productivity in the Olympiad.  That’s EXCITING.

If only the body of Christ could operate like that.  Every CELL and every MEMBER, every CAPACITY.  What a tremendous influence that would be to the surrounding Church community of your area.

BUT, that is exactly what God intended as when God intended the physical body used to that MAXIMUM OUTPUT.  So does He intend the Church body to be capable of the same?  You say, “But how?”

Well, like the athlete, if he’s going to OPERATE like that; every cell, every muscle, every tissue, every fiber, every capacity in his/her body has to ALL come together from the mental to the physical to operate.  It is the same in the Church.  If the church is going to be all that God intended it to be, to GIVE GLORY to Christ Jesus, as the athlete’s body gives GLORY to himself, then the body is going to have to FUNCTION with every single part.  The body has to be doing what it has to do at MAXIMUM OUTPUT!  that’s exactly where the MINISTRY of the SPIRITUAL GIFTS comes together.

FOR WE ARE A BODY:

“For just as the body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  For by [means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, baptized [and by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit”  (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 AMP).

The apostle Paul speaks to the Church at Corinth and goes down and discusses the members of the body; how the MEMBERS of the BODY are to COOPERATE  to make the Church function and the way it should function.

Spiritual Gifts Are Vital–If the Body of Christ is to HONOR Christ.

This will happen when we’re WHOLE, FUNCTIONING, MAXIMIZED BODY.  That will only happen when ALL of us are MINISTERING in the area and with the GIFTS of the SPIRIT of God graciously given to us.

When the body functions as it should be, FOUR BASIC things that occur as a result.  They are very IMPORTANT because all of us are RESULT-ORIENTED.  These are FOUR RESULTS when the body FUNCTIONS PROPERLY:

NUMBER ONE–The People Receive The Blessing.

You will be BLESSED when you MINISTER and see the FRUIT of your labor.  God never intended the ministry to be carried on by professionals while everybody else watched.  God intends ALL of us to minister so that ALL of us see FRUIT; ALL of us UNDERSTAND JOY and BLESSING in response to these.

SECOND THING–When Everybody Does His/Her Part, the Body Really Functions.

WITNESS is really DYNAMIC!  When Peter EXERCISED his GIFT of PROPHECY, proclaiming on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 people were saved (Acts 2).  When other believers EXERCISED the GIFT of GIVING, shared what they had, the Lord added DAILY to the church people.  They saw that kind of LOVE and wanted to be a part of it.

There is an illustration all the way through the life of the early Church in Jerusalem in the Book of Acts.  It shows how the MINISTRY of the GIFTS of the believers created response in the unredeemed, non-saved community.

A THIRD RESULT.

Not only that the people receive the BLESSING and the WORLD receives the WITNESS but thirdly, LEADERS are made APPARENT.  In a FULL-FUNCTIONING body of believers, leadership RISES TO THE TOP.  It just emerges!

We have a lot of leadership; “leadership material” available to the Church today because there’s a real NEED for LEADERSHIP.  That’s the GREAT NEED in the Church.  You can’t get people to do what the people ought do UNLESS you’ve got somebody to help them along, show them, work with them.  And LEADERSHIP is a PRIORITY and it’s amazing how the Church tries to find its leaders.

You can go to LEADERSHIP seminars, read books on leadership, find a great amount of material that is simply an adaptation of the world’s system of getting leaders.  Oh when the church says, you know, “We’ve got to EDUCATE our people,” they want to GET A GUY or GAL with an education, a degree in education.  Or the Church says, you know, “We’ve got a lot of problems.  We’d better get somebody with some psychological training to handle OUR problems.”  Or, “We’ve got a lot of young people who have needs.  We’d better find an EXPERT in the youth area.”  And so the Church opts out for STYLIZED LEADERSHIP; what the world offers.

The TRUTH of the matter is that all God ever expected out of leaders were certain GIFTS of the Holy spirit; certain moral and spiritual qualifications.  All these things become manifest in the MINISTERING COMMUNITY.  As people MINISTER, they simply EMERGE as LEADERS.  Spirit-filled leadership ALWAYS emerges rapidly when God is freely at work in His body, the CHURCH.  That is another one of the benefits.

And FOURTHLY, One of the Other BENEFITS of a FUNCTIONING BODY is When UNITY DEVELOPS.

When UNITY develops there is a beautiful LOVE and wonderful FELLOWSHIP in the body.  And this fulfills our needs and reaches out, touching the lives of those who would like to have the same.

So these BENEFITS, resulting in the body is the KEY to making it function in the use of these spiritual gifts.  All of us have received them; we’ve talked about them in endless details in Church circles, so I will move away from that point for now.

Ephesians 4:11 Terminology:

This passage discusses the GIFTED MAN; the apostle, prophet, evangelist, teaching pastor, teacher.  These five individuals are the gifted people given to the Church by God and empowered by Holy Spirit to lead the Church.

The Edifying Gifts.

There are TWO CATEGORIES presented in Scripture that are permanent, edifying gifts.  Look at 1 Peter 4:10:

As each of you has RECEIVED A GIFT (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), EMPLOY it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [FAITHFUL STEWARDS of extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].”

Whatever your GIFT is, most likely it is a combination of the various enablements that makes up your gift.  But as you receive the GIFT, so “EMPLOY it for one another.”

USE your gift, this is vital as good stewards of the multicolored GRACE of God, literally.  If you’re a steward, minister your gift!

Now then he divides the GIFTS into TWO CATEGORIES in 1Peter 4:11:

“Whoever SPEAKS, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever RENDERS SERVICE, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in ALL THINGS God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah).”

Speaking Gifts and Serving Gifts.

You can have “speaking gifts” and serve also; these are but general categories.  Again, these type of gifts are mentioned in either/or one of them in both passages; Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10:

Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, LET US USE THEM:  [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith;  [He whose gift is] practical service, LET HIM GIVE himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching;  He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who GIVES aid and superintends, with ZEAL and SINGLENESS of mind; he who does ACTS of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness”  (Romans 12:6-8 AMP).

“To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit;  To another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit;  To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such tongues]”  (1 Corinthians 12:8-10 AMP).

In PART 2, Operating at MAXIMUM Output, I will try to convey the meanings and the usages of the specific gifts in the Church today.  You might AGREE with my findings and you may DISAGREE, and that’s okay too.  My emphasis is for you to not just identify your particular gifting but to be Operating At MAXIMUM Output through the POWER of the Holy Spirit.