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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On Being a Blessing to Believers

Psalms 69:6   (NLT)   Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.

The way we live as believers affects our spiritual family. We cause others to esteem them highly or to look down on them.  Our attitudes, conduct, character, words, principles, and actions go farther and wider, and affect more people than we realize. The last thing we want to do is to give our Lord’s name and our fellow believers a bad rap.

Psalm 69.6 - Be a Blessing to BelieversWhen God calls us to be holy, it is not a figure of speech; He is serious about it; He means business. It is not a suggestion; it is not a joke. Him being holy and perfect is literally true. That’s His basis in calling us to be holy as well. “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 NLT); “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16)—that’s what God’s Word says. I would say His call for us to be holy is literally true as well. “…work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). That’s a huge implication on us personally, but we realize: it far transcends us.

God doesn’t want us to have even a tinge of wickedness in our hearts. He knows it spreads and it spreads rapidly. It gets bigger; it becomes deadlier; and it destroys more people. We must seriously consider this. We don’t take this lightly. We love God so much; we don’t want to cause others to dishonor Him. We love each other so much; we don’t want to cause others to slander them. We don’t want to cause them any humiliation or harm. We bring light, not darkness; we shine brightly so that God will be glorified. We don’t want to pull our brothers and sisters down to embarrassment; we want to help them soar higher.

We don’t deny our imperfection; we still sin—that’s an obvious fact. But we also don’t tweak God’s Word to accommodate that. This is not a case of either-or; it’s both. Let’s settle that. Now, let’s live in a way that’s a blessing to the Lord and His family.

Helping God? No Way.

Mark 6:41   (NLT)   Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share.

Miracles invite our involvement. God created everything out of nothing, but He still used and accepted the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish He used to provide more than enough food for 5K men + women and children. Jesus could have made bread and fish to appear in Mark 6.41 - God Needs Our Help--No Wayfront of each person, but He still asked his disciples to help distribute them.  Sovereignty does not promote passivity inactivity, or laziness. Obviously, God can do anything by Himself. So, His invitation for us to join Him in a miracle is not because He’s lacking. Whatever our participation is, no matter how small, brings us opportunity of experiencing the joy of miracle. Sure, for every small part we contribute, God has incalculably multiplied times more, but there’s still satisfaction and joy in knowing that we take part.

God is a good Father. He does not want to spoil us. Even in forgiveness, although He forgives us absolutely, He still disciplines us. He doesn’t allow us to get off, scot-free without experiencing disciplinary consequence. Discipline may not even sound palatable in the age of grace, but discipline and grace aren’t contradictory. In fact, discipline is a proof of us being a part of the family of God. Like in the case of the people who complained against God about their food. They were bitten by snakes and many of them died because of that. When they realized they did something wrong and repented, they asked God to forgive them and to stop the judgment. God was willing, but it was not an immediate termination of judgment; Moses still had to construct a brazen serpent on a pole, and people still had to look at it for them not to die.

God honors us. Praise God, He does not clip our wings but allows us to live to our maximum potential. Why did Jesus intend to just pass the disciples who He saw were in serious trouble rowing hard against the waves? My guess is, He knew they would have made it. As dangerous as their situation may have been, they would still have succeeded and reached the shore safely. He wanted to give them the joy of achievement.

God helps us. Even if it would require a miracle to do it; He does. But He also stretches us. It is often through that when we realize there’s more in us and to us than we know. So, we gladly and gratefully welcome the invitation to join Him in His work and share the joys of His victories and miracles.

Help and be Helped

Numbers 3:9   (NLT)   9 Assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They have been given from among all the people of Israel to serve as their assistants.

The Lord is our Helper, and one of the ways He helps us is through people. We all need help, and we all ought to help others. God moves in and through us so that we can serve and be served. The work God assigns us is bigger than one person can do alone. God Numbers 3.9 - Help and be Helpedproviding us help and instructing us to help shows His concern about us, about others, about His Name, about His Kingdom.

We all have a call; our call is personal, but our call involves God and people. We’re to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, strengths, and we’re to love others as ourselves. We can’t do that without getting involved with God and with people. And because others have the same mandate, we too will be recipients of that love. We can’t escape this. This is how humanity is designed: we’re inter-connected.

Don’t be alarmed. God doesn’t want our boundaries violated. Though the Levites were assigned to assist Aaron and his sons, there were things they couldn’t do, touch, and see that Aaron and his sons could. He has things that are uniquely ours, uniquely others’, and uniquely His. Helping others doesn’t mean having the right to violate those boundaries. There are lines we can’t cross, and there are lines we can. There are works we can share, and there are responsibilities reserved for the individuals alone. To violate these boundaries can be ungodly and can end up not helping at all.

Remember, even helping has protocols. Forgetting this can be devastating. Instead of helping, we cause more work; instead of making things easier, we make them harder; instead of making things faster, we cause the delay; instead of building, we destroy; and the worst: instead of giving life, we bring death.

We need help, others do too. God helps us. We receive help, we help others. All these are done respectfully. Help becomes a real blessing.

God Helps Us Answer Questions

Psalm 25:12   (NLT)

12 Who are those who fear the Lord?
He will show them the path they should choose.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want… These are the opening words of the famed 23rd Psalm written by the former King David of Israel. It’s understandable that people—mostly believers—worldwide—love this Psalm. It brings comfort and encouragement Psalm 25.12 - God Helps Us Answer Questionsbecause it touches a lot of very common, deep, and important issues and needs very dear to our hearts.

Jehovah-Jireh—the Lord our Provider. That’s one of God’s revealed covenant compound-names. Praise God; He’s not a stingy God who delights in making His people suffer lack. He provides not just material things, but everything we need; this include our much needed guidance. We desperately need truth. It’s essential to make right decisions especially in life-altering, destiny-changing choices.

We have questions; people have questions. We want our questions answered. We also want to have the answers when people ask us of the hope we believe in. For us who have high regard and high-respect for our God—who value Him greatly, who worship Him and Him alone, He’s more than willing to reveal Himself, His Word, and His ways. Teach us, He does: word upon word, precept upon precept, line upon line.

We need not get annoyed, irritated, or angry when people ask hard-hitting and difficult, even tricky and impudent questions. Love doesn’t flinch, and willingness to gently, humbly, and correctly answer people’s inquiries is an expression of love. God is omniscient; we’re not, but as we fearfully, sincerely, and wholeheartedly seek Him; He shows Himself—increasingly more. We grow; we get to guide seekers better—nor as blind leading the blind, but as those who have their spiritual minds, hearts, and eyes anointed with the salve of God’s revealing light.

Sing to the Lord

Psalms 13:6   (NLT)   I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.

In the heart of a person who has experienced God’s goodness and love, and is aware of it, rings a beautiful melody of praise. Our gratefulness and appreciation for God, His wonderful works, His super-abundant blessings, can be expressed in so many ways. One of the most beautiful expressions of a thankful and joyful heart is a song.

Psalm 13.6 - Sing to the LordWe have more than sufficient reasons to be grateful to God for eternity. We don’t deny the existence of evil, pain, suffering, enemies, and persecution. There are times when it seems like our enemies are not being held accountable, and are getting away with their wicked ways, wiles and schemes. But our God neither slumbers nor sleeps; He doesn’t take a vacation. There is not a time when He’s unaware of our circumstances. And He never stops helping us. He always rescues us—either from or through troubles.

His care for us is full coverage and that is true with everyone. He desires the best for everybody and is concerned to the minutest detail. He cares for our relationship with Him; He cares for our relationship with others; He cares for our spirits, our minds, our emotions, even our bodies. He has given us instructions, guidelines, and commands about all major areas of our lives so that we can be best and do best in all of them. And the beautiful thing is: He also gives us the power to do them. He gave us His Name—Name that is above every name—that even our most powerful enemies bow.

Our Almighty and loving God and Father never runs out of resources, ways, and means of helping and blessing us. He can even create new ways of handling our situations. He is a very creative God. When it comes to obvious truths revealed in the scriptures, we can fully depend on Him because He never violates His Word; He never turns back on His promises. When it comes to things that are not revealed; He always graces us with a lot of pleasant surprises. Often, uttering words of humble and loving thanksgiving no longer suffices that we are left with nothing else but to just sing and offer him a melody or two. But that itself is an awesome, heart-warming, and wonderful experience.

 

Be Teachable

Acts 8:31   (NLT)   The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

“Teachability” is a very valuable virtue. It requires humility but it’s also a path to greatness. It takes humility to admit lack of understanding, to admit need of help, to admit someone knows more than you do. Learning requires sincerity and resolve. It Acts 8.31 - Be Teachablenecessitates effort. The person in this story had a hard time understanding what he was reading, but he was reading nonetheless.

Having a know-it-all attitude is disadvantageous. Wise people understand: wisdom is a life-long pursuit; the truth is: it is an eternity-long pursuit. Our learning doesn’t stop when we meet the Lord face to face.

There is no greater source of wisdom than God’s Word. True: there are some parts hard to understand; it will take a sincere desire to learn for us to grasp truths God intends for us. We find it a big help listening to others who have also spent time and effort in studying His Word. We don’t deny personal responsibility; we have to read the word by ourselves; we have to study it; meditate on it; memorize it; live it out; share it. But we can certainly also learn from others. It doesn’t diminish our self-esteem when we do. We expand our horizon much greater by mining the gold from other people’s perspective. We recognize that we miss some important insights other people catch. We even learn from people of the world; they too have wisdom to share; they too are created in God’s image; they have undeniably good contributions. In some cases, we need discernment from the Holy Spirit to know whether what they teach is godly or worldly. It’s no problem because God is more generous with His Spirit guiding us, helping us, warning us, and leading us to the truth.

Dear heavenly Father—all loving and all wise, thank You for giving us understanding and insight—especially when it comes to vital spiritual truths. Thank You for giving us your Holy Spirit without Whom we would be spiritually blind. Thank You for making us a part of people who have the same access to Your Spirit—the Spirit of wisdom. Thank You for giving us opportunities to learn, to know more about You, Your Word, Your love, and a lot more wonderful truths we absolutely treasure. And thank You for the privilege and honor of bearing and sharing this treasure.