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.

Today, We Prepare

Hebrews 3:13   (KJV)   13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

One glorious day, we will be meeting our long-awaited beloved Lord, beholding Him with our very eyes, to spend time with Him and with our God for eternity. That will be one day, and we pray, one day soon. Today, we prepare.

exhortPart of our proper preparation is urgently exhorting and warning each other daily to be passionate about our God and His Word; to be watchful and vigilant against the insidious tactics and hideous attacks of our enemy.

God has powerfully set us free; we live in freedom. We don’t unwisely subject ourselves again to the cruel sin overlord. In freedom; we’re repeatedly commanded to be careful, to guard our hearts, to make sure our hearts don’t get hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, and cause us to turn away from God.

We aim to be faithful to our Lord, to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith, to trust Him as firmly as when we did at first—even more. We don’t make light of the admonition for us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to strive with the power of God’s Spirit that’s continually working in us to will and do what pleases Him. These we restfully do—in freedom, in His grace.

Indispensable Faith

Romans 4:20   (KJV)   20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God

We “give” glory to God when we’re strong in faith. Yes, faith matters. It’s worth is certainly upheld and emphasized when it comes to salvation.  My proposition is to keep on maintaining its value and worth in our lives as believers.  I’ve heard that there have Romans 4.20-21 - Indispensable Faithbeen extreme teachings about it from a certain group bearing something as important as faith in their name.  I’ll be quick to point out: I’m not a part of their group, nor do I identify with them.

This is also not in any way a rejection or denunciation of the group or any individuals from their group often presented as heretics and false teachers.  Personally speaking, the worst, most extreme, and most heretical teachings I’m aware of that they purportedly teach are those I’ve heard and read quoted by their “attackers.”  Truth be told, even those with audio and video clips, it’s possible to understand the logic in what they teach when taken in proper context.

Pardon me for always trying to make sense of the teachings of our brothers and sisters in Christ in areas where we may differ.  In the non-cardinal, negotiable doctrines, I firmly believe what I believe is true, but then again, they may be right, and I may be wrong. Why fight?

Going back to faith: it’s indispensably essential in our lives.  With it, we appropriate God’s grace for our salvation; we live by it instead of sight and feeling; without it, there’s no way we can please God, and as we just read from the above passage, with it, we give glory to God.  Many of our desires and prayers are answered by God according to our faith.  A quick clarification: we ought to not presume our prayers are not answered because of lack of faith.  I won’t cower from saying this though:  it’s possible that it’s also because we do lack faith.  That statement is in no way for the purpose of condemnation; it’s to encourage us, just in case we really need to step out and step up in faith and we just haven’t done so.  If we know we already have, that’s great; that part is at least already taken care of.

The Lord encourages us: “Have faith in God.”  It’s direct: it’s something we have to do; it is also suggestive: we may not have the faith we ought to have, but none of us dare call out our Lord as being condemnatory.  We understand what He’s saying; let’s extend the same gracious attitude to our brothers and sisters who encourage others to walk in faith. With love as the greatest motivation, our walk as believers is by faith—from start to finish.

 

Unforgotten Servant

Acts 28:21-22  (KJV)   21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.

God’s workers can find  themselves in a position where they’re seemingly alone, taken for granted, and forgotten. The silence of others in a middle of hardship doesn’t necessarily mean rejection, but silence itself may not really be the treatment either when encouragement and support is much needed.

Through reasons unknown, we may find ourselves seemingly lacking support from our co-workers. Yes, it would be great if we can receive communication from them that boosts our morale. It would be great if they would drop a good word about us here and there, but if they don’t, we ought to not be quick to conclude that they are not supportive of us. There are a million possibilities why. For all we know, they may be undergoing worse persecution or circumstance than we are. So, let’s keep serving the Lord – alone, or when submerged in overwhelming show of comforting presence or communications. And when we have opportunities, let’s make sure we become instruments of encouragement to each other.

Dear God Who never leaves us or forsakes us, with You, we’re really never alone. – In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

Of News and Truth

Luke 3:18  (AMP18 So with many other [various] appeals and admonitions he preached the good news (the Gospel) to the people.

John courageously prepared the way for the Lord Jesus through bold exhortations and preaching. He unflinchingly told it like it was. Doctrine, correction, rebuke, instruction – whatever was necessary, He spoke clearly, and bravely – no batting of eyelids, no fear of the potential of unescessarily offending others. He preached what people needed to hear – wanted or not. He preached the bad news and the good news. Despite being associated often only with radical rebukes, He did both: appealed and preached the Good News.

News ought to be uncompromisingly truthful. This is our special call as privileged bearers of the eternal truth. Many a times, there’s  a tendency to gravitate towards either the pleasant, encouraging words or the fearful warnings and judgments. Those who joyfully preach the God of love look down on those who still engage in preaching hellfire and brimstone as preachers of legalism and condemnation. Those who adamantly preach about the God of holiness and justice look down on those who continually preach on the God of grace and mercy as shallow, compromising and advocates of licentiousness. Faithfulness requires fullness of the message. No matter what’s our propensity or inclination, no matter what’s our preference, we are to boldly speak them all: bad news and good news. Different personalities will yield different approaches – some, even interesting ones; it’s great; let’s just make sure we proclaim the same full Scripture message.

Dear God may we be faithful bearers of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – in love, with wisdom and gentleness, so help us God.