BE HUMBLE

the tempted Jesus

Do not be wise in your own eyes.  Proverbs 3:7 NIV

A member of the British Parliament took his 8 year-old daughter to visit Westminster Abbey. The awesomeness of it struck the little girl. As she stood looking up at the columns and studying its beauty and grandeur, her father said, “Sweetheart, what are you thinking?” She said, “Daddy, I was thinking how big you seem at home, and how small you look in here.”

God’s presence has a way of humbling us. And that’s good, because when we empty ourselves God has a useful vessel. Your Bible overflows with examples of those who did. In His gospel, Matthew mentions his own name only twice. Both times he calls himself a tax collector. In his list of apostles, he assigns himself the eighth spot. John doesn’t even mention his name in his gospel. The 20 appearances of the name “John” refer to the Baptist. John simply calls himself “the other disciple,” or “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Luke wrote two of the most important books in the Bible, but never once penned his own name. Paul, the Bible’s most prolific author, referred to himself as “a fool” (2Co 12: 11). He also called himself “the least of the apostles” (I COR 15:9). Five years later he claimed to be “less than the least of all the saints” (Eph 3:8). In one of his final epistles he referred to himself as “the chief of sinners” (See 1 Tim 1:15). As Paul grew older, his ego grew smaller. King David wrote no psalm celebrating his victory over Goliath. But he wrote a public psalm of penitence confessing his sin with Bathsheba (See Ps 51). So, the word for you today is ‘be humble!”



USE YOUR BUSINESS To DO GOD’S BUSINESS

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Using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd. Luke  5:3TM

Luke writes:

“He climbed into the boat that was [Peter’s].. .using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd” (Lk 5:2-3 TM). All our boats belong to Christ. Your boat is where you spend your day and make your living. And Christ says to you “You may drive my truck… work on my job site… serve in my hospital wing… preside in my courtroom . . .edit my newspaper…program my computer.” To all of us He says, “Your work is My work.”

Later, Peter the boat owner wrote:

“You are royal priests. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God” (I Pet 2:9 NLT). And what does a priest do? He represents God to people—and you’re supposed to do that too! “Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus” (Col 3:17 TM). Moses prayed, “Let the loveliness of our Lord.. -rest on us, confirming the work that we do”

(Ps 90: 17 TM).

Perhaps you see no way God could use your work. Your boss has the disposition of a pit bull. Hamsters have larger work areas; your kids have a better per diem. You feel like you’re sentenced to an outpost in Siberia, and hope left on the last train. No! Henry Giles, a 19th century preacher, said, “There is no task so low that we may not elevate it; so dull that we may not enliven it if we understand that what we are doing is service to our Lord Jesus Christ.” So, use your business to do God’s business!



WHO DO YOU SERVE?

mens ministry

The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve. Mark 10:45 NKJV

Jesus entered the world to serve. And we should enter our Jobs, our homes and our churches —to serve. Servanthood requires no unique skill or seminary degree. Notice: (1) To serve is to love the overlooked. Jesus sits in your classroom wearing thick glasses, outdated clothing and a sad face. You ‘ve seen Him. He works in your office. Pregnant again, she shows up late and tired. No one knows the father. Water cooler rumors say even she doesn’t. You’ve seen her. When you love the misfit and befriend the hurting, you love Jesus.

“Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored … you did it to me” (Mt 25:40 TM). (2) To serve is to wave the white flag. We fight so much: “Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from?” asks James, “Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way” (Jas 4:1 TM). Real servants don’t struggle, they submit. (3) To serve is to do something each day that you don’t want to do. Pick up someone’s trash. Surrender your parking place. Call that long-winded relative. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Helen Keller once told the Tennessee Legislature that when she was young she longed to do great things and could not, so she decided to do small things in a great way. Don’t be too big to do something small. “Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort”

(I COR 15:58 TM).


PROTECT YOUR MARRIAGE

 

Wives, submit… unto your own husbands…Husbands, love your wives.   Ephesians 5:22,25

Understand this: (1) Every blessing God gives you will be contested by Satan. Satan was angry that Job’s family was a source of delight to God, his provider. Look out, God’s blessing on your home invites Satan’s attack. He’ll place thorns in your nest. He wants to be the third party in your relationship. He wants to agitate and disappoint, using your weaknesses. He inspires unrealistic expectations, diverts your focus from servant-hood to self-absorption. He fuels your imagination through television and unhealthy relationships until God’s presence ceases to be the atmosphere of your home or the goal of your union. Beware of his inroads. Become a watchman over your family. (2) Thoughts have presence. The moment you walk into a home you sense conflict or contentment, jealousy or joy. Your attitude is contagious. Like a thermostat, it determines the climate. One husband noted that certain television shows nurtured a sexual restlessness within him. He was comparing his wife with the sensuality of the performers. A young wife identified the timing of unexplainable jealousy toward her husband, after watching her favorite soap opera. Every emotion has a birthplace. So be sensitive to any changes in the environment of your home or inner life. (3) Love is more about listening than talking. Listen long enough for hidden emotions to be expressed. Listen carefully enough to gain understanding. Listen accurately, so you can assess the true needs of your mate that nobody else has been able to meet. Your questions reveal your caring. So ask them softly, ask them repeatedly, pray and process before you respond, and your marriage can become a masterpiece.



LEARN To BE CONTENT

 

Be relaxed with what you have. Hebrews 13:5 TM

Did you hear about the farmer who grew discontent with his farm so he decided to sell it? A few days later his real estate agent phoned wanting approval for an advertisement she intended to place in the local newspaper. She read it to the farmer. It described a lovely farm in an ideal location— quiet and peaceful, contoured with rolling hills, nourished by a fresh lake and blessed with well-bred livestock. The farmer said, “Read that to me again.” After hearing it a second time he said, “I’ve changed my mind. I’m not selling. I’ve been looking for a place like that all my life.”

Paul would have applauded that farmer. He learned the same lesson: “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.” Before you change your job title, examine your perspective toward life. Success is not defined by position or pay scale, but by this: doing the most, what you do the best, and doing it as unto the Lord. Parents, give this counsel to your kids. Tell them to do what they love to do, and do it so well that somebody pays them to do it! Spouses, urge your mate to choose satisfaction over salary.

“[It is] better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure [with] turmoil” (Pr 15:16 NLT). Wise up! It’s better to be married to a happy person with a thin wallet, then to a miserable person with a thick one. Pursue the virtue of contentment. “Godliness with contentment is great gain”

(1 Ti 6:6 NIV). When choosing or changing jobs, be careful. Consult your design. Consult your designer. But never consult your greed.


A LITTLE MOTIVATION

 
 

It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.  Hebrews 9:27

Zig Ziglar tells the following story. It seems a gentleman worked on the 4 p.m. to midnight shift and he always walked home after work. One night the moon was shining so brightly that he decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery, which would save him roughly a half-mile walk. There were no incidents involved, so he repeated the process on a regular basis, always following the same path. One night as he was walking his route through the cemetery he didn’t realize that during the day a grave had been freshly dug in the very center of his path, so he fell into it. Desperately he started trying to get out, but his best efforts failed him. After a few minutes he decided to relax and wait until morning when someone would help him out. He sat down in the corner and was half asleep when a drunk stumbled into the grave. His arrival roused the first guy, since the drunk was also desperately trying to climb out, clawing frantically at the sides. Our hero reached out his hand, touched the drunk on the leg and said “Friend, you can’t get out of here”—but he did! Now that’s motivation!

When you pass 50, if you’re wise you’ll value time more than money. With hard work you can usually get more money. But when it comes to time—your clock is running out. Maybe a visit to your local graveyard might just be the thing to help you reevaluate and reprioritize, and make the rest of your life— the best of your life!



FIND YOUR PLACE

Gods plan

Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us.  

2 Corinthians 10:13 TLB
Vinci only painted one Mona Lisa. Beethoven only composed one Fifth Symphony. And God only made one version of you. He custom-designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment. “How can I discover mine?” you ask. Your ability is a key to your destiny! “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (IPe 4:11 NKJV). When God gives you an assignment, He also gives you the skill-set. To discover your assignment—study your skill-set! Your ease with numbers. Your love of computers. Your gift for interior design. Others stare at blueprints and yawn; you read them and say “I was made for this.” Heed the music within! No one else hears it the way you do. Look back. What have you consistently done well? What have you loved to do? Stand at the intersection of your desires and your successes, and you’ll find your uniqueness.

“The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others”

(I COR 12:7 CEV). Away with this depreciating “I can’t do anything,” and its arrogant opposite, “I have to do everything.” No, you don’t! Paul said, “Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us.” Don’t worry about skills you don’t have and don’t covet strengths others do have. Just use your God-given gifts! “Kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you.” If you’re not sure what God has called you to do, get down on your knees and ask Him to reveal it to you. And when He does, pour yourself into it!


LET GO AND LET GOD

 

If you love someone.. .You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him.  1 Corinthians 13:7 TLB

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, it just means I can’t do it for someone else. To let go is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization that I don’t control them. To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. To let go is to admit my powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands. To let go is not to try and change or blame another, I can only change myself. To let go is not to care for, but to care about; not to fix, but to be supportive; not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being. To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to effect their own outcomes. To let go is not to be protective, it’s to permit another to face reality. To let go is not to deny, but to accept. To let go is not to nag, scold or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them. To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish each moment. To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can be. To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future. To let go is to fear less and love more. To let go—is to let God!



A second look

second look

“If you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”  Colossians 3:1-2 The Message Bible.

                Often we miss valuable opportunities when we focus on the same things over and over again.  When we get so accustomed to our surroundings we miss golden opportunities.

                A Dutch farmer in South Africa used to sit on a stone ridge that crossed his farm and mourn over the sterility of his land.  He was only too happy to sell it for $25,000. But the man who bought the farm opened a gold mine right under the rocky ridge where the farmer used to sit and pity himself.

                By sitting in the same place and seeing the same thing, this farmer missed the chance to become rich and blessed.  The Psalmist says that God is “the lifter of our heads” that is, He gently lifts our eyes upward when we have the tendency to stare downward.

                A father, reading his paper came across a map of the world.  He clipped it out, cut it into pieces, and told his small son to put the world together.  After a while the boy called, “I’ve done it!”

                His father marveled, “As quick as this?  How did you do it?”

                The son said, “I turned it over and on the back was a picture of a man.  I put the man together – and the world was right!”

                Sometimes we need to get our eyes off the puzzles of the world and get our eyes on Jesus.  He will right the world.

                Instead of moping about this week, let’s look up and see the Glory of God’s Blessings.  Then we can share blessings with those we meet.

                Pastor Don



Use Me

Tree

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all.  When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!”  Philippians 2:5-7 The Message Bible

                “A beautiful tree stood among many others on a lovely hillside, its stem dark and glossy, its beautiful feathery branches gently quivering in the evening breeze.

                As we admired it we became conscious of a gentle rustling of the leaves and a low murmur was heard: ‘ You think me beautiful and admire my graceful branches, but I have nothing of which to boast; all I have I owe to the loving care of the Master.  He planted me in this fruitful hill where my roots, reaching down and dwelling in hidden springs, continually drink of their life-giving water, receiving nourishment, beauty and strength for my whole being.

                ‘The characters on my stem are cut into my very being. The process was painful, but it was my Master’s own hand that used the knife, and when the work was finished, with joy I recognized His own name on my stem! Then I knew that He loved me and wanted the world to know I belonged to Him!’

                Even as the tree was speaking, the Master Himself stood there. In His hand He held a sharp axe. ‘I have need of thee.’ He said. ‘Art thou willing to give thyself to Me?’

                ‘Master,’ replied the tree, ‘I am all Thine own but what use can such as I be to thee?’

                ‘I need thee,’ said the Master, to take My living water to some dry, parched places where there is none.’

                ‘But Master, how can I do this? What have I to give to others?’

                The Master’s voice grew wondrously tender as He replied. ‘ I can use thee if thou are willing.  I would fain cut thee down and lop off all thy branches, leaving thee naked and bare; then I would take thee right away from this thy home and carry thee out alone on the far hillside where there will be none to whisper lovingly to thee – only grass and a tangled growth of briers and weeds.  Yes and I would use the painful knife to cut away within thy heart all barriers till there is a free channel for My living water to flow through thee. Thy beauty will be gone; henceforth no one will look on thee and admire thy freshness and grace, but many, many thirsty souls will stoop and drink of the life-giving stream which will reach them so freely through thee. They may give thee no thought, but will they not bless thy Master who has given them His water of life through thee?  Art thou willing for this my tree?’

                And the tree replied, ‘Take and use me as Thou wilt, my Master, if only Thou canst  thus bring living water to thirsty souls!’

                — Adapted from B.E. Newcombe’s, “Use Me”




 

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