Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Looking Through The Eyes of Love (Mark 10; Jeremiah 24)

July 28, 2014

“And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘you lack one thing, go, sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'” Mk. 10:21

“So many people and so many personalities.”  These words had to have, from time to time, been on the minds of the disciples of Christ.  Each chapter in the gospel of Mark is filled with encounters with people who were at times in radically different places.  But with divine precession, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter in each case.

Think it through:

In Mark 10 Jesus with 5 different circumstances representing 5 different personalities.

1.  In Vs: 1-12, Jesus ministers to Pharisees who have a hard heart.

2.  In Vs: 13-16, Jesus ministers to Disciples who fail to have the heart of a child.

3.  In Vs: 17-31, Jesus deals with a Rich man who is trying to save himself.

4.  In Vs: 35-45, Jesus deals with Disciples who want to lead, but need to be servants.

5.  In Vs: 46-52, Jesus deals with a man who wants to be healed.

In each of these circumstances Jesus ministers with such perfect precession!!!

Question:   “Do you and I handle every circumstance with such precession?”

I wish my answer could be, “Yes.”  But sadly, there are moments when I am like a person shooting at a chipmunk with a scatter gun.

The key to such precession is in looking through the eyes of Jesus.

Jesus spoke with discernment.  He knew exactly what was in men’s hearts (John 2:28).

Jesus spoke with dedication.  He was going to the cross to redeem men’s hearts (Mk. 10:45).

Jesus spoke with direction.  He would give men new hearts (Mk. 10:27).

Our response:

We must become a people who so dedicate ourselves to Jesus, that we can have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5).  This mind will then lead us to a discerning spirit that believes God can change the direction of every heart.

Lord, help me to see others through your eyes.

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So Then (I Kings 2, Galatians 6)

September 30, 2013

“And keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies…”  I Kings 2:3

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith,”  Galatians 6:10

“So then, what will you do with this wonderful present?”  This question could have been asked by anyone who saw the value of a gift given to someone in need.  But specifically I am thinking about the gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to anyone who is born again (John 14:27).   The question is, “So then what will you do with the Holy Spirit?”  The Apostle Paul answers this question in Galatians 6.  The so then will evidence itself in two ways:

1.  You will serve others, Vs: 1-10

People who are “Spiritual” will reach out to serve others.  In particular, the others are those who are characterized as people who have burdens.  These burdens can be either self-inflicted (caught in trespasses) or from outside sources.  In either case the spiritual are to serve those people and at the same time being careful not to be burdened by the same trespasses.

This is serious business.  One must be willing to serve (sow) day after day until the harvest comes.  You have to stick with the business of serving others.

2.  You will be shaped by the cross, Vs: 11-18

Certainly the religious crowd has no desire to be shaped by the cross.  Neither does the world see the need to even embrace the cross.

However, it is different for the child of God.  He or she sees their sin and their need of a Savior.  It is the power of the cross that makes the sinner into a new creation.  This new creation desires to be crucified to the world.  Their lives are now shaped by a different spirit.  This spirit leads them to serve others.

Think it through:

1.  Is there a clear, “so then” in your life?

2.  Can people see the cross taking shape in your life?

3.  Are you serving others or yourself?

Take it out for a spin:

Spend time evaluating your life (Gal. 6:4) in light of the scripture.  Make the adjustments that are needed.  Commit yourself to serving others as a clear sign that your life is being shaped by the cross.

A Preview Of What Is To Come (Revelation 9)

August 16, 2012

“The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come,” Rev. 9:12

Last evening I came home after a very long day and just crashed (Not literally) on our downstairs couch.  I reached for the Tv remote and turned on the Tv.  Without even really thinking, I hit the channel guide button.  There before me on the screen were all the present options and all the upcoming options of the programing for the evening.  Also there was a DVR button that allows me to record programs and watch them later.  So my options were many.

This morning, I found myself reading through Revelation 9 in our More For Christ readings.  Here we see a preview of what is to come.  Here is and outline of the text:

1.  Destruction awaits the wicked, Vs: 1-6

The wicked will be tormented (in the Tribulation) for 5 months.  The destruction will be so severe that people will seek to die but they will be unable.  Sadly, they do not realize death will not end the struggle.  Death only is the cross over to eternal punishment.

2.  Description of the wrath of God, Vs: 7-11

We see the creatures God uses for judgment of the nations.  Again this preview is devastating.

3.  The depravity of the wicked, Vs: 12-21

1/3 of all humanity will be destroyed.  But still those who remained would not turn from their wickedness.  They continued to worship false God’s and they continued to carry out their wickedness on the earth.

This very day, I weep as I see the preview of what is to come.  The saddest part for me is in the fact that I cannot change the channel on the future and I cannot alter people’s hearts.  However there is something I can do.  I can praise the Lord that I have been delivered from the wrath to come and I can proclaim the gospel to all I meet.

Brothers and sisters you and I know the preview and we know God’s plan for the future.  We have this day!  Let us make the most of this day.  Do not change the channel in your mind and heart.  Do not put out of your mind the preview you just read.  Do something about it.  Arm yourself with the gospel and go for this is the only moment you and I have.

PS:

Let us pray for our missionaries who are on the field.  I encourage each who read this to make plans to spend one week in the next year with a missionary on a foreign field.   We have already placed on our calendars (July 22-31, 2013) for our next Romania trip.

The Work Continues

February 13, 2012

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to so and teach, until the day he was taken up…” Acts 1:1-2a

Today is once again Monday (No big revelation there).  For me Monday is aways a great day because it is a major study day.  I have the opportunity to spend almost all day in God’s word preparing to preach His word.  So for me Monday is not a negative thing.  However for many people Monday is all about the day that they go back to the job they have to do in order to make ends meet so they can do what they want to do when they have time to do it.

This morning, I want to spend some time helping you to be able to look at Monday and actually every day in a different light.  This morning’s scripture reading is from Acts 1:1-26.  Dr. Luke has been tasked by the Lord to write the continuing story of the Lord’s work.  The gospel of Luke tells us the story of our Lord’s work for us.  The book of Acts tells us of God’s work in our brothers and sisters in Christ during the first thirty years of the church.

As the chapter begins it is clear that the disciples were confused.  They were not sure if their work was beginning or if it was over.  Here is their question, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel.” Acts 1:6.  These guys, without question, wanted it to be over.  The fact is, anyone would love to be a part of God’s kingdom.  But the fact is, there is much to do here.

I wonder, “Do you find yourself sometimes praying, ‘Lord help me to just get through this day at work or maybe even at home.'”  If so, consider the disciples.  These guys had been harassed.  Their leader had been killed and now was resurrected.  The unrest was still at a fever pitch in Jerusalem and they really were not for sure, if they would be the next on the hit list of the religious establishment.  You think you have it bad?

In this moment, Jesus gives a charge to the disciples that I am sure all of you have read before, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8.

The work Jesus began was to now continue through these men and then through those who would follow.  The work would continue and it continues today.  Now here is the big part for you.  The work of the gospel is a work that takes place in the streets, homes, and offices of our world.  Those who take seriously their work realize their place of work is their mission field.  They realize their home is a mission field.

Suddenly everything has changed.  For me this change brought about a great change in how I read the book of Acts.  Now I read discovering truth about our God and I discover the testimonies of the those who surrendered themselves to the God who empowers their work.

Oh how I pray this day is the first day of a week of work that is joyous because you are now working for the Lord.

For further study consider, Colossians 1-3 and also reading the book “Tell the Truth,” by Will Metzger.

 

What Have You Done?

July 5, 2011

Imagine how upset you would be if you gave something of great value to someone and they simply left it out in the elements and it was ruined?  This was the scene before Israel in Jeremiah 13:1-11.  God gave Israel a picture of how she had been treating the covenant relationship He had with her.

“Thus says the Lord to me, ‘Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it around your waist, and do not dip it in water. Take the loin cloth and bury it in the cleft of the rock in Euphrates… After many days the Lord said, ‘Arise go and take from there the loin cloth.”  So I arose and went.  And behold the loincloth was spoiled; it was good for nothing,” Exerts from Jeremiah 13:1-7.

This loincloth was a picture of the close relationship God had with Israel.  The loincloth was worn closest to the body.  Israel choose to disregard the relationship they had with God.  They choose to go after other Gods and the goods of this world.  So in doing they made this relationship of no value.

Question, “What have you done with your relationship with Christ?”  Can you honestly say, “Christianity is of great value in your life?”  I sometimes meet people who say, “I tried Christianity and it did not work for me.”  In such encounters I often ask the person, “How much of an investment did you make in Christianity?”  Without exception, I discover people who have just tried to add Christ to what they were already doing.  There was no life change, no turning from sin, and no seeking to grow in Christlikeness.  Yes their faith did look like the loincloth because they simply buried it in the ground of a sinful life.

So what is the path that you and I should take today?  We must follow a different path.  This path is laid out by Paul in I Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were  bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.”  

I was greatly challenged to take daily inventory of my life.  Do I truly valuing the relationship I have with Christ?  As I take inventory, I am reminded of how Satan seeks to slip in evil scenes before my eyes and evil thoughts in my mind.  I am reminded how my old nature wants to pull me back into its clutches. At the same time I am reminded, by God, to invest in those things that will build my fellowship with Him.  As I read His word, I protect my eyes and mind.  As I invest in purity I am able by the power of God to overcome the clutches of my old nature.

Some day we will stand before our Lord and He will ask us, “What have you done with what I gave you?”  Oh how I pray that we can give an account that we have invested in our relationship through a life that has brought glory to Him.

Going To Work

June 30, 2011

Someone recently said in passing conversation, “The worst part of my day is going to work and the best part of my day is quitting time.”  Certainly we live in an era where most Americans work far too many hours with far less true benefit.  However there is something most followers of Christ miss when it comes to their work place.  The work place is God’s mission field.

This morning I began a study in the book of Jeremiah.  Jeremiah is one of my favorite books.  In this book, the prophet of God has been called to go and work with a people who are rebellious.  These people do not like him, they seek to undermine his work.  They have him demoted as a citizen and even throw him into a miry cistern.  I wonder, does his work place seem like yours?

Maybe you are a missionary on a foreign field?  Things are difficult.  You do not speak their language.  Their customs are so different and it seems that they reject every attempt you make in building a relationship.  It can often be the same way for those whose mission field is their workplace. People speak a different language.  They engage in conversation that is ungodly.  They travel in circles that you cannot travel in.  They refuse to allow you to build relationships.

Be assured Jeremiah understands what you are facing.  He faced it as well, “But you, dress yourself for work; arise and say to them everything that I command you.  Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you,” 1:17.  Jeremiah had a call on his life but this call did not ensure that he would not get discouraged, as you and I sometimes do.

Jeremiah needed more if he was going to stay with his call.  You ask, “What did he need?”  This is a very good question.  Here is God’s answer, “They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you declares the Lord, to deliver you,” 1:19.  

For me there is so much peace, power, and perspective in God’s word to Jeremiah.  Oh what peace that comes to our lives when we know God is with us, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5. Oh what power we experience as we seek to be obedient in our field of work, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Phil. 4:13.  Oh what perspective that comes when we know God is with us,” I am with you even until the end of the age,” Matt. 28:20.  Our God has had people in every age working their mission fields and He has given victory in each place.

So, today I encourage you to go to work.  Work is your mission field.  Our God goes with you.  Our God works in you and through you for His glory.  Take heart brothers and sisters, “He is on the job with you.”