Who Are You Serving?

Romans 1:1

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,”

Servant – One that serves others.

I love the way Paul opens his letters, stating to the people that he is a SERVANT of Jesus Christ. What I love even more is that in it’s original greek text it is written as, BONDSERVANT. When we think of a servant we think of someone who is forced to carry out tasks, duties and/or labor. Either because they have been taken captive or because they need financial support, therefore they subject themselves to this servanthood. Our modern day term would be an employee, because most of us get jobs to support ourselves and our families. So we become employees which are subject to instruction by managers and/or supervisors.

Employees do not work for free, they either get paid or they quit. Sometimes employees will even threaten their leaders with quoting in order to receive more money for their work. Now do not get me wrong, I am not saying that getting paid for out work is wrong in anyway, I’m merely setting the scene for what a BONDSERVANT is. You see because a BONDSERVANT is someone who freely chooses to serve, without pay. One who when they are faced with the option of living according to their own ways or staying to serve in subjection to their master. Which in the Christians case is Jesus Christ.

This is why I admire Paul, because he had no need change his ways. He was living life the way he wished, he was in good favor with the people and was working for the high priests, so he had no desire for financial support. However, when the Lord came to him, he freely set aside all those things to become a servant for the Lord.

Most of us come to the Lord out of desperation, whether it be for financial support, a broken heart or the need of physical healing. Which by no means are bad reasons to follow Christ, but Paul had everything going for him and was on his next mission when the Lord spoke to him and turned his life upside down. My question is this, Are we living our lives as employees, expecting something in return from God? Or are we living as bondservants, thankful for all the things HE has already done in our lives and how HE has molded our hearts?

I urge you today to evaluate yourself, are you doing this Christ thing because you believe it offers more benefits than the world? Or Are you truly allowing God to set you apart because of the Love that has encompassed you and turned your heart from the selfish and bitter person you used to be? If you truly wish for the Holy Spirit to take hold of your life start by examining your heart, forget about the blessings you desire and focus on what God has called you to do, spread the Gospel to all the nations. (Matt. 28:19) Open yourself up and live as a BONDSERVANT. God bless.

Do You Feel Imprisoned?

(Acts 26:31-32 ESV)

“31And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment. 32And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

You see Paul could have been set free, but he would not have fulfilled the entirety of the Lord’s will for his life. You see, Jesus, told Paul that he would testify for Jesus in Rome, therefore he had to appeal to Caesar. Paul was innocent, he knew it and everyone else knew it. Do you think if the Father pleased He could have just let Paul off the hook right then and there? Of course He could have, but God has a bigger and more powerful plan than our little minds can bear. The Lord wanted to affect more people than just those surrounding Paul. He knew there were people waiting for Paul, so that they can be healed and saved as well.

A lot of times we are not going to understand the plans the Lord has for us, but what we can understand is that HE is in control and even if we feel a little uncomfortable, HE is still going to take good care of us. Paul was in prison for a long time, but never once does the bible say that Paul was suffering while imprisoned.

Do not fear your current circumstances, allow the Lord to have His way and He will continue to sustain you. Even while Paul was imprisoned the Lord stood by his side and let him know that everything was going to be ok and that the Lord still had plans for him. Know that the Lord is not finished with you, He has a plan for you to reach people for HIS glory, take heart and stay in good cheer! For this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! God Bless.

Setting The Bar High

Acts 15:7-11

“7And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

        As Christians we sometimes tend to forget what the Lord has given us grace on and saved us from.  We begin to think that this walk is easy and hold others to extremely high standards.  For some of us we forget that this walk we now have with Christ, like any any relationship, took time to build.  There are times of feeling disconnected, lazy and doubtful.  Yet, we expect others to be able to achieve this relationship with Christ at the snap of OUR fingers.  The fact is that God doesn’t move at the sound of our voice or when we feel it is necessary.  We move at the sound of His voice, at the time He deems appropriate.

        Many tend to turn into a person who becomes resentful at the things others do because they can no longer do them.  A bitterness sets in and the grace and mercy God shed on us, we cannot shed on others, which in return takes that covering of grace and mercy off of our own lives.  There were two commandments that Jesus gave during His time on earth: 1. Love the the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.  Have you ever heard someone say ” Well I love God, I just think that some of the people around me are idiots.”  I can’t help but laugh when I hear comments like this, or with somewhat of the same meaning, because if you love God those who act foolish should be receiving more of your love than those closest to you.  Jesus said that He came for the lost, yet we feel that the lost having nothing to live for and should just be wiped off the face of the earth.

        In the passage above the people were exclaiming to the Apostles and Elders that the gentiles were not baptized therefore they should cannot be saved.  I love the response of Peter when he says why should we place a yoke on the disciples that not even our fathers were able to bear.  In other words, why are we requiring others to be holy before coming to the Father, when even when we were circumcised we acted worse then them.  Why are we setting standards for others, that we were never able to attain?  Why do we not show the grace and mercy that the Father showed to us?

        Don’t hold others to standards that we were once not able to reach ourselves.  Shower others with love and encouragement and allow God to be in charge of the increase.  I urge you to shower people with love and encouragement today, let the love of God flow out of you.  I’m going to end today’s post with a prayer, be open to the spirit and receive it. God Bless!

“Heavenly Father we come before you Lord with longing hearts,desperately seeking grace, mercy and favor in your eyes. We ask Lord that you would forgive us of the standards we hold others to, when we ourselves cannot attain these standards. We ask Lord that your hand would be among us today, that as we pour out love and encouragement on others today, they would receive it and fell YOUR touch. Their hearts would turn to YOU and YOU would begin to lead them in righteousness. I ask that YOU watch over us and continue to guide our footsteps and make clear the path YOU have set before us.  In the name of YOUR SON JESUS, AMEN!”

Mug-Shot

Acts 14:8-10 (ESV)

“(8) Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. (9) He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, (10) said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.”

While we see the Apostles complete another miracle, and by no means am I down playing the importance of this miracle, the part that stood out to me was that Paul could tell by looking at this man that he had faith that he could be healed. This verse causes us to look inward, what do people see when they look t us? Do they see the God fearing righteousness that we are daily called to live out? Or do they see someone that fears God and loves their neighbors only when things are going the way it was planned in their OWN head?

Let’s analyze the situation that took place. What would’ve happened if this man woke up in a bad mood and said “Woe is me, another day of living paralyzed, the Lord must not love me, I’m just going to angry today,” do you think this man would’ve been in position to receive his blessing? I have to say no, for the Word of God says, rejoice in the Lord for THIS is the day that He has made! Perhaps this man had been going to the same church every Wednesday and Sunday for the past month, year, five years, perhaps his entire life. However, this particular day he had just had enough, finally reached the end of the line and said the church isn’t doing anything for me, I’m just going to take a day off, I’m tired! He would have allowed the devil to corrupt his mind and kept himself from an opportunity that would change his life, forever!

The point is that we cannot fathom or plan when the Lord will change the winds in our lives. We are called to withstand the attacks and faithfully love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all of our hearts, DAILY. We must be patient and constantly seeking to get closer to the Lord, because the closer we are to Him, the more we will trust Him and feel His love. Do not be easily defeated, we are Children of the Most High God and of He is able to take care of the birds in the air, He is more than capable to supply our needs and perform healing in our lives. Get to that place spiritually where separation is not a possibility. Obey Pray Trust. God Bless.

Why Must They Despise Me?

Psalm 35:11-14 (ESV)

“11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
they ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good;
my soul is bereft.
13But I, when they were sick—
I wore sackcloth;
I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
14I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
I bowed down in mourning.”

We all know how it feels when a loved one is in need. Whether they are sick from a horrible disease or desperately financial support, to name a couple examples. When these situations arise we pray and fast with our whole heart, desperately seeking the Lord to move His hand and turn the situation around. These loved one we agree in prayer with are also people who have teased us or wronged us in some way or another, however we still find it in our heart to intercede in prayer for these people.

However, when someone else wrongs us or talks badly about us we somehow forget that we are children of the Most High God. We forget that the Lord loved us even when we resented everything every word of His. He loved us even when we sentenced His Son to death. We arose against Him and beat His Son to a bloody pulp! He still stands by our side to aid us in our daily lives. So why do we seem to feel that the people who arise against us should be sentenced to death and deserve none of our compassion and mercy.

Would you like to see an example of what our compassion should look like when our “enemies” persecute us? Perhaps you should re-read the passage above, King David, a man after God’s Own Heart, gives a very detailed description of the way he prayed for his enemies. Lamenting, or weeping, as if it were his own brother, sister or loved one. Laying himself down in sackcloth, which was a form of atoning for one’s sin and fasting until his body was greatly ailed.

In order to love as God loves us we must look past our family and friends, even the family and friends that pretend to not be related to us, or the family and friends that only run to you in times of need. We must look to those who greatly despise us, wish for nothing but evil to come upon us and our families and WE MUST PRAY for them. In order to fully experience the wholeness of God’s love we must love others as He has loved us! God Bless.

Giving Credit Where it is Due

Acts 13:42-43 (ESV)

“42As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.”

As followers of Christ there will be people, if there are not already, who really appreciate the words of love, comfort, compassion, hope and forgiveness, that we have to offer. Now if your words don’t carry any of these characteristics, then there is some self examining that needs to be done, but that’s another subject. Back on topic, the leadership position we face when giving advice or mentoring others can be dangerous in two ways: the person being mentored begins to put their hope in the mentor and/or the mentor begins to think it is he/she who is great and not God who is working through them.

The passage above would have been controversial if not for the end of verse 43, which says that Paul and Barnabas urged them to continue in following GOD. Indeed, Paul and Barnabas were anointed men of God and very gifted speakers, however they also knew that their anointing and gifts came from their Father in heaven. As humans, saved or unsaved, it is very easy to accept the praises of men, especially for a man like Paul who was the, self-proclaimed, worst of all sinners. A man who had devoted his life to evil, filth and demise, to be changed into a man speaking life into those who are lost is a huge turn around. Imagine putting yourself in his shoes, wouldn’t it be nice to go from someone who persecutes others to a man who others look up to, and furthermore wouldn’t it be nice to accept the praises of others? We are all lying to ourselves if we say that wouldn’t feel pretty good. Feeling good about speaking life and sharing the hope we have, with others is not bad, it’s when we forget to give credit to our Father in heaven who has not only placed us in a position to mentor but also equipped us with the tools to do so.

Don’t let others forget who has saved and restored you from your wretched, self-indulging ways and most importantly do not let yourself forget who gives you life each and everyday. Take time to thoroughly thank and praise our creator who has given us wonderful opportunities to expand His Kingdom! God Bless.

Pro-Choice?

Deuteronomy 30:15 (ESV)

“15 See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.”

Everyday we are faced with decisions we must make. Some more important than others, but nevertheless they are decisions that impact our daily lives in one way or another. For those with children it could be the school you choose to send your children to or letting them miss because they claim to be sick. The first question question seems to be more important, however they both affect daily living and can hold long term effects.

The Children of Israel were being prepared to go into the land the Lord had promised them, however the Lord needed to make clear that every decision they make has consequences. However, if they first choose to love God with all of their heart, then they will be prosperous in their lives. Because if they first love God, then the rest of the decisions they make will exemplify their love for God and they will make choices based on their live for God.

In our lives we can reach our full potential and be blessed but we must first choose to Love God with ALL we have. When we choose to Love God with all of our hearts then we are faced with tough decisions we will choose that which gives most glory to God. When we are faced with a decision to lash out with harsh words or turn the other cheek and show the forgiveness that was given to us through Jesus, the decision will be simple. When you choose to love God with everything you have, you are also making a decision that will directly affect the decisions of your future. In return you family will be blessed and they will know to also Choose Life! God Bless.