Appreciating God’s Workers

1 Corinthians 16:18   (NLT)   They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.

God’s workers ought to be some of the most appreciated people in the world. They strengthen, encourage, comfort, build up, and so much more. The most is: they’re affecting eternal realities in people. That’s of incomparable value. There are many of 1 Corinthians 16.18 - Appreciating God's Workersthem out there, serving God faithfully, through thick and thin, trials and temptations, through comfort and discomfort. They don’t serve for adulations, gifts, and appreciations, but it’s something they ought to receive from their fellow believers—especially those benefiting much from their services.

God knows how to take care of His children. Wherever He leads and assigns, He provides. He’s a good Father and a good employer. He’s the best in fact. He has raised us up as His spiritual family. We are honored for being the people through whom He moves, especially in caring for each other.

We all need help. We who worship and serve the one true living God, though individuals with different gifts, callings, and ministries, belong with each other. As sheep among wolves, we need much help and encouragement. We are under constant attack; attack—that’s something the ungodly world system does. Discouragements and attacks ought to not come from fellow believers and co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard. We may not always cover all needs, but we can always help. Willingness and availability to help is a very good starting point. Because we appreciate and support each other, more lives are touched; more souls are saved; more believers grow; the church expands; the world gets better.

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Worship: It’s Good for Us

Jeremiah 32:39   (KJV)   39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

The Lord’s command and expectation for us to worship Him, serve Him, obey Him, fear Him is meant for our good and not for evil, to bless us and not to harm us—not only us, but even our children.

Jeremiah 32.39 - Worship - It's Good for UsWe hear of others who take offense on the truth that God is a jealous God who doesn’t want us to have any other god or gods. Praise God for the understanding He’s given us. His jealousy is not due to His insecurity. It’s because He doesn’t want us to live in a lie—worshiping those not worth worshiping, missing out on our best.

We pray that we others will open their minds and hearts to this reality. God existed in absolute perfection and contentment in eternity past without us. He doesn’t need us for Him to be whole. He has much to bless us with. As for us, we’re enjoying this awesome and indescribable privilege.

Thank you Lord for giving me—us, your children—hearts of worship.

Those who Receive Him

John 1:12   (KJV)   12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Our precious Lord Jesus, the Word Who existed before the beginning, Who was with God, Who was God, through Whom everything was created, willingly came to His own creation, and sadly, was cruelly rejected. Not everyone did; not everyone does; we receive Him for john-1-12-those-who-receive-himWho He really is: the Lord, and the Savior. We are spiritually birthed and have become His children. He lives in us through His Holy Spirit; we blessedly experience Him, His unfailing love, His faithfulness, His glory, His truth.

It’s worth noting—repeatedly, if that’s what it takes, that there are at least two kinds of “childhood” to God. One is by virtue of creation. Through this, all of us, saved and lost are His children. The other is by virtue of spiritual birth. This is the kind of “childhood” that applies to the salvation experience or the saved. Spiritual birth is indispensable and no one ought to leave this life without it.

When we receive our Lord and Savior Jesus, He gives much more to us than we to Him. He gives us life; He give us light. He is far greater than us, but He’s always available to us. He continues to reveal Himself and continues to pour out His love. He invites us to Him; He changes us from within; He calls us to partner with Him in His Kingdom ventures. He raises us to such high worth and value. But despite the status we find ourselves in, He’s so great that we get awed even with the very limited truth we know about Him. Can we really imagine how we will react when we meet our heavenly Dad face to face? How does one react to someone so full of power, and yet so full of love?

He holds nothing back in loving us; we too pour out our affection and ourselves in loving Him. Motivated by His love, we as His privileged children live in such a way that we aren’t doubted as His; we shine His light, we declare His truth, we display His presence; we show His power.

Incredible Image

luke-20-24-incredible-imageLuke 20:24   (KJV)   24 Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s.

This is the passage preceding the Lord Jesus’ often quoted response: “25…Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” It’s interesting how He added a statement in His answer—one that doesn’t address the question, but it was very telling. But first, notice where He took His audience’s attention to: the image and superscription on the coin.

The penny bearing the image and inscription of Caesar belonged to Caesar and was given to Caesar. We bear God’s image. We were created in God’s image. Among the faithful, this is universally known; this is usually the emphasis in quoting this particular Scripture. And that’s an extremely awesome truth in itself. Warped and distorted visage as it may be because of sin, but being transformed and renewed day by day from glory to glory. That’s our predestination: the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Image and inscription—we know the image, what about the inscription. This is often a title. So, what’s ours as God’s children? Here’s just a few: chosen people, royal priesthood, holy nation, God’s special possession, redeemed, sanctified, justified, saved, holy, blood-bought, beloved, blessed, family of God, light of the world, salt of the earth, disciples, bond-servant, saints, faithful, bride of Christ…We get the point. More than our clothes, our shoes, our hairstyle, our make up, our degrees, medals, and trophies, we possess the most incredible image and most awesome descriptions and titles man can have.

As the coin bearing the image and inscription of Caesar was given back to Caesar, we who bear God’s image and inscription ought to give ourselves and all our wonderful titles, blessings, and benefits to Him as well. We offer God all of who we are and all of what we are, and yes, all we have.

Greatest Reward

Genesis 15:1  (KJV)   After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

When our gracious God called the then pagan Abram, He made a very appealing promise – that He will make Abram a great nation; that He will bless Him; that He will make his name great; that Abram will be a blessing (see Gen. 12:2). But with all these amazing sovereign provisions, God presented Himself to the highly favored Abram as the best of all the offers. He will be Abram’s “exceeding great reward.”

Greater than becoming a great nation, greater than having a great name, greater than being a blessing – God is. Of all the bountiful blessings and benefits of being a believer, our Beloved beats the best of the best. if we may, He is the Best of the “best/s.” It is foolish to deny, reject or dismiss the amazing graces of God; it is also foolish to accept, embrace, and pursue them more than the God of grace. In what many believe as a noble posture of humility, some would innocently say that all they need is God; they don’t need or want His blessings. Conversely, in many cases of careless Christianity, some have gravitated towards the promises of God; they have forgotten the person of God. To reject what God offers is not humility; it may be ignorance, even pride. To miss God’s best offer is not gain; it’s to miss it all.

Dear God, our exceeding great Reward, may we be wise not to choose either You or Your blessings and reject either one or the other. May we receive everything You offer, but help us to wisely prioritize. May our hearts be single in longing for only You; may our hands be open in accepting all that’s Yours. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.