Doing our Part

Ephesians 4:16   (KJV)   16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

There are no misfits in the body of Christ. God put us all together “perfectly.” We all have a part to play. We affect each other. How faithfully or unfaithfully we do our part Ephesians 4.16 - Doing Our Partdetermines whether or not we help each other grow in His love and likeness.

We serve others well; we serve others the best way we can. We don’t serve just for the sake of serving. This isn’t something we do just for the sake of fulfilling our obligation. If that’s the case, we would settle for the easiest ministry in the church. No; we pursue what we believe God has called us to. We seek out the best and greatest way we can serve the church—not for our own personal aggrandizement, enrichment, or popularity, but for the benefit of His children, His kingdom, His Name.

 

Blessed and Wise

1 Corinthians 15:10   (KJV)   10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

We’ve all failed God. We who have turned away from our sins, we who have placed our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation, we who have waived the white flag of surrender to His Lordship are saved and have become new creations—all because of His love, mercy and 1 Corinthians 15.10 - Blessed and Wisegrace. We all need Him if we are to be who we ought to be. We can’t reach our full potential and our beautiful destinies apart from our Maker, Sustainer, and Guide.

The abundance of blessings we receive from our extremely generous Father enables us to be who we need to be and do what we need to do.  We don’t get there passively; faith without works is dead, thus, unfruitful. We can choose to make wise use of all His gifts or we can waste them. God honors our efforts. As I often state, “For every step we take, God takes a million.” That sounds like an exaggeration, yet for all we know, it may actually be very conservative.

We honor our incomparably generous Lord with our faithfulness. How faithfully or unfaithfully we use His gifts to us shows how grateful and appreciative we are to Him—or not. We are grateful—eternally grateful. We understand that His blessings will continue to flow even in paradise. That’s why despite all the seemingly unpleasant treatments we receive for being a believer, we are steadfast in our faith, and we willingly and enthusiastically labour in the Lord as He works faithfully and strongly in and through us.

Gifted for Service

1 Corinthians 12:7    (KJV)   But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Every person is a recipient of many gifts from God. No person can live without them. God is the Source of every good and perfect gift. He immensely enjoys blessing us. He’s a very generous God. Believers and unbelievers alike enjoy the graciousness of our God. All of us 1 Corinthians 12.7 - Gifted to Serveenjoy air, sunshine, and rain just the same. Of course, there are special callings, giftings, and endowments that are for believers only. We are definitely and humbly grateful to Him.

God’s spiritual gifts are priceless. They’re gifts; we don’t work for them. He chooses which gifts to give to whom. They are very helpful for our personal growth and ministry. But more than that, we help, encourage, and strengthen each other. Why is it important to be reminded of this? It’s because others easily get carried away and lured by personal interests. This is true even with believers.

We delight in serving the Lord and serving our brothers and sisters. His gifts allow us to go beyond the limitations of the natural. This is so good because there are many problem situations that natural resources can’t solve. We continue to look to our Father; always worshiping Him and giving Him the glory because without Him, we’re nothing. And one expression of our gratefulness is treasuring His gifts and using them, especially in serving His children with all He’s blessed us with.

All for God

Deuteronomy 10:12   (KJV)   12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul

deuteronomy-10-12-all-for-godThere’s a difference between fearing people and fearing God. We don’t fear people; we fear God.

It’s not demeaning to fear Him Who created all things, in control of all things, and Who not only can do something with our bodies, but has control over our souls’ destiny.

To fear God, to walk in a way that pleases Him, to love Him and to serve Him with our all—these may sound so hard, but if we really think about it, they’re really very doable. We just have to want to.

Reality: Christian life is not just hard; it’s impossible—if we depend upon our own power. But our precious Lord Who expects us to live for Him also empowers us to do so.

Because we fear Him, we want to live in such a way that will please Him, because we love Him, we serve Him. Not everyone who tries to please God really fears Him. Not everyone who serves Him really loves Him.

Fearing, pleasing, loving, and serving God is a privilege. He doesn’t need them. We do. He existed in perfection without us. They’re ultimately for our best.

All things are from Him, trough Him, and for Him. He also spared no expense for our pardon and salvation. That’s the reason why we do what’s appropriate: serving God with no less than all our heart and our souls, humbly acknowledging that even with that, He deserves infinitely more.

Celebrating Children

Mark 9:37   (KJV)   37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

We love our kids; they’re a wonder to behold. They are wonderful gifts from God. Yes, it takes a lot in raising them; it’s also a joy doing so. It takes a lot of responsibility in raising them. There’s so much to teach them; but guess what, there’s also so much we can learn mark-9-3-celebrating-childrenfrom them. You know what’s interesting? Learning something from them is probably the last thing others would think about, but not us. Thank You Lord; You woke us up to this reality.

To some (or many), kids are an annoyance, that’s why they would rather not have kids. Others don’t mind having one or two, but not more. There are those who give them away for adoption; and there are those who don’t even give them a chance to live beyond the womb. It’s not hard to see irritated stares from people when a child cries incessantly—especially children not their own. But there’s a good side in this: as there are those who can’t stand children, there are also many of us who love them. We treat them the best way we can, although of course, we still fail. We learn from our mistakes; we do better.

Children are hugely dependent on responsible others; they can’t survive on their own. We need to take good care of them, and it’s something we keep doing until they can take care of themselves. Taking care of them isn’t a waste of time. I need to emphasize this because many times, others see kids as disturbances from a lot more important things in life. They’re sadly considered by others as uncomfortable distractions from their pursuit of greatness. This is where our loving Lord Jesus took His disciples’ attention to. The path to greatness isn’t by lording others into submission; it’s by receiving children.

I’ll state this again: it’s by receiving children. The reason I feel the need to doing that is because I want us to not miss out on this principle. Many of us are aware that a path to greatness is by conducting ourselves humbly like a child and serving others. That’s a principle that many believers are familiar with. But there’s really more to it than that: It’s not only by having childlike faith and humility that we enter the Kingdom of heaven and become great, it’s also by literally welcoming, receiving, and caring for little children. Welcoming them is welcoming God, and having God is both greatness and way to greatness. That’s why, we don’t just tolerate children, we celebrate them.

Spheres of Christian Existence

Luke 2:39   (KJV)   39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

We as believers live in variety of spheres: there’s the personal, the familial, the ecclesiastical, and the vocational, professional, or social. The most important is our personal relationship with God. This is our utmost priority. Next responsibility we have is luke-2-39-spheres-of-christian-existenceour family. This doesn’t take precedence over our relationship with God, but we don’t neglect this. The next is our ministry. This doesn’t take priority over our relationship with God and our family, but we serve our spiritual family and serve in the church. Next is the world around us. This doesn’t take priority over our relationship with God, etc., but we reach out to them and serve them.

There have been quite a few times when I met different people who were very vocal about their spirituality and their knowledge about the Bible. But when I asked them about their spiritual families (their local churches in particular), they told me that they don’t attend church. I’ve also met people who told me that their family is their church. I remember reaching out to a pastor friend of mine because not only has he stopped living out his calling, he and his entire family even stopped attending church. When I encouraged him to keep “pursuing” his call, he told me that he is pastoring—he’s pastoring his family. I explained to him that yes, we do “pastor” our families—they’re our responsibilities—the familial sphere, but he still had to serve in the context of being a part of the body of Christ. Sad to say, he didn’t change. By the time of this writing, it breaks my heart that his children are still lost.

Different spheres, different responsibilities, proper priorities. God gives us time for all of them. We’re not accountable for what we don’t have. We have twenty four hours a day, seven days a week; we juggle through all our complex schedules and indispensable responsibilities. We don’t neglect any of them. With the right priorities, proper balance, and good time management, we enjoy life to the fullest, yet relaxed and rested. We’re not stressed; we love life; people enjoy our presence; God’s pleased. Thank You Lord for a wonderful life.

Journey Under God

Revelation 2.19 - Journey Under God - 2Revelation 2:19   (KJV)   19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

Three things to note: 1. God’s totally aware of everything we are, everything we do, everything we undergo; 2. Our works, love, service, faith, and patience are important to God; 3. Our continual growth matters much to Him.

Knowing that God watches over us brings a very comforting assurance that whatever we’re going through, God sees and He’s always readily available to come and help us. Knowing what’s important to Him gives us a road map for our temporal journey here on earth; we’re not lost and we don’t have to be. So we walk in full confidence, willing to take on our tasks head on, loving God with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength, loving our neighbors as ourselves, willingly and humbly serving God and others so that God’s Kingdom will continue growing deeper, stronger and bigger. We stand steadfast in our faith, proclaiming it, defending it. Although it takes time, and the fruits of our labor don’t come quickly and easily, we are willing to wait and persevere. And we’re always abounding in our labor for God knowing that none of it is in vain.

We don’t stop, and we won’t stop. God hasn’t and won’t. He never gives up on us. He’s still working in us. God has bought us where we are, but this is not all God has for us. There’s still so much more in store. So we continue, looking forward to an ever-increasing glory to glory change. God won’t fail. We won’t fail Him.