Serving God is utterly different from serving anyone else.
God is extremely jealous that we understand this — and enjoy it. For example, he commands us, “Serve the Lord with gladness!” (Psalm 100:2). There is a reason for this gladness. It is given in Acts 17:25. God is not “served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
We serve him with gladness because we do not bear the burden of meeting his needs. Rather we rejoice in a service where he meets our needs. Serving God always means receiving grace from God.
To show how jealous God is for us to get this and glory in it, there is a story in 2 Chronicles 12. Rehoboam, the Son of Solomon, who ruled the southern kingdom after the revolt of the ten tribes, “abandoned the law of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 12:1). He chose against serving the Lord and gave his service to other gods and other kingdoms. As judgment God sent Shishak, the king of Egypt, against Rehoboam with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen (2 Chronicles 12:2–3).
In mercy God sent the prophet Shemaiah to Rehoboam with this message: “Thus says the Lord, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak’” (2 Chronicles 12:5). The happy upshot of that message is that Rehoboam and his princes humbled themselves in repentance and said, “The Lord is righteous” (2 Chronicles 12:6).
When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, he said, “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak” (2 Chronicles 12:7). But as a discipline to them he says, “They shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries” (2 Chronicles 12:8).
The point is plain: Serving God is a receiving and a blessing and a joy and a benefit.
This is why I am so jealous to say that the worship of Sunday morning and the worship of daily obedience is not at bottom a burdensome giving to God, but a joyful getting from God.
Drawn by Kindness
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
1 John 4:7-21
When you hear the word heaven, what comes to mind first? Is it the loved ones who have gone before or perhaps the absence of pain and sorrow? Although these are glorious things to look forward to, let’s remember the Person who made our entrance into heaven possible. The Gospels provide glimpses into the love and welcoming nature of Christ. Each word and action of His flows from love because He is love. If you ever wondered what love sounds like—read the Gospels.
Crowds were drawn to Him. Children were invited close and He compassionately healed the sick. He saw beyond the wealth, poverty, physical appearance, and ailments of people and embraced their faith. The outcast and down-trodden were seen and included. Jesus gave generously of His time and wisdom. Even if we combined all the moments when we felt most loved, they would pale in comparison with Him. We can trust Him completely today and with our future. Let us eagerly anticipate meeting Christ face to face in heaven, the One who gave everything for us: His position, righteousness, body, and blood.
Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.
Job 17 – 20
Freedom of speech is sacrosanct. We must allow people, on both sides or multifaceted sides of any issue, to be heard no matter how absurd, infuriating, polarizing, alt/left or alt/right that speech may be. To refuse to do so is to ever be marching closer and closer to an authoritarian society. I fear that we are flirting if not forcibly descending into that arena.
How to Pray
May 30, 2017
In this manner, therefore, pray…
Recommended Reading: Matthew 6:5-8
One of the best ways to describe Christianity has always been to say it is not a religion but a relationship. And nowhere is that more evident than in the way Jesus taught His disciples to pray.
The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 needs to be read in its context to understand what Jesus was saying to His disciples (then and now). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus draws attention to the formal religion of the Jews which had ceased to be a close and personal relationship with God. He pointed out many ways in which religious rituals had taken the place of intimacy with God—for example, prayer. Just before teaching His disciples how to pray, Jesus called religious leaders hypocrites for praying lengthy prayers in public to impress others. By contrast, Jesus told the disciples to pray to their Father in private using the words of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in heaven”—a prayer that offers the simple language of intimacy and relationship.
What was good for disciples then is good for disciples now. You can pray in the words of the Lord’s Prayer or simply follow its clear and simple themes. Jesus’ model prayer is a way to keep your relationship with God on a Father-to-child basis.
The spirit of prayer is the fruit and token of the Spirit of adoption.
Read-Thru-the-Bible: Job 13 – 16
Remembering today my father, grandfathers and uncles who served and fought in the two great wars (WW I and II). What a legacy they, and all the ladies who "manned" the factories and hospitals, have left us to emulate and follow. Proud to be American!
Lest We Forget
This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
2 Peter 1:12-15
Have you tried journaling? Yes, you say, and it went well for a while, then you got too busy and didn’t have time to write and write and write. Well, the great thing about journaling is you can do it your way according to your own schedule and personality. The latest craze is “bullet journaling,” in which items are jotted down in bullet points, utilizing lists and homemade graphs and charts.
Some people use a wide-margin Bible to journal their thoughts while reading through the Bible. Others use journaling features on their phones. Still, it’s hard to beat the old-fashioned way of using a notebook to record a few thoughts each morning or evening about your day and the lessons God gives you in His Word.
When we journal our walk with God, it helps us remember His faithfulness to us. Our lives go by in a blur, and our memories fade with time. What a treasure to record answers to prayer, special promises God gives, and thoughts during life’s crucial moments. Writing helps us clarify our thoughts, and it leaves a testimony to others.
Why not give journaling another try?
Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.
Job 9 – 12