Tag Archives: reasonable service

It’s Only Reasonable

I don’t have to wonder why I sometimes feel less than connected to God. It’s because I’m far too connected to the world.

A quote from the commentary of Matthew Henry zinged my heart today as I studied Revelation 4. He said “The more we abstract (disassociate) ourselves from all corporeal (worldly) things the more fit we are for communion with God.”

Distraction is likely the best tool in Satan’s shed, don’t you think? Everyone has something that is their “Ooooo something shiney!” It may be music, or technology; perhaps it’s a hobby or that next life goal. They are the little “g” gods that we put before the Creator of all the earth. The One Who has our life in His hand. How’s that for a dose of reality.

John, on the Island of Patmos, away from his iphone, television, etc. and without any way to connect to social media, has an opportunity to walk through the door of Heaven. Now, to be real, John didn’t unplug willingly; he was banished there. But rather than blaming the wickedness of others for his terrible circumstances of life, he uses the time to commune with God.  That pretty much leaves us excuseless. We were not plunged into a vat of boiling oil, beaten or banished. I’m freely sitting at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a banana, enjoying the freedom to serve God without persecution. I should be dancin’ a jig across the floor with the knowledge that I could have been born in a foreign land where the persecution of John is still very real.

Revelation 4:1-2

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

What would you give up (without having to die) to get a few moments of a glimpse into glory? That was the question that I ask myself. Would you walk away from technology of every shape and kind? Would you rise early and greet the Lord before you greeted the things of the world?

I don’t think that God wants us to go to an island, away from everyone and everything to commune with Him. But I do think He wants us to unplug. So this is my challenge for myself, and perhaps it’s a challenge for you as well. Commit a “reasonable” amount of time.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is you reasonable service.

A living sacrifice

We don’t have to die, or be banished, we get to live, Glory to God! But to sacrifice means it comes at a cost and what is it going to cost us to serve? For most of us it’s only going to cost a reasonable amount of time. What’s reasonable? So many questions! Reasonable for me is the time I waste. And by waste I mean truly un-purposeful time. Everyone needs rest, time to wind down, time with family, people have jobs, etc. etc. God understands that, but how much time during the day do we just flat out waste that could be spent communing with God? Would it take us into a heavenly experience? I don’t know, but I know this, I’ve never felt that time with God was unfruitful.

Holy

I’ve been more and more conscientious of the unholy conversation that I have or expose myself to. I’m not talking about cussing, or inappropriate language. I’m talking about television shows, conversations that do not glorify God, and times that I know if Jesus were looking me in the eye, I wouldn’t join in the conversation. And yet He lives in me and I do. It makes me sad… Jesus too no doubt.

Acceptable unto God

These are our reasonable service. I know mine doesn’t measure up. I need to unplug from earthy things and connect with God more.

Myself ~ My Service ~ His Sake

2 Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Every day is a struggle for me spiritually. The closer I try to get to God, the harder the battle, and quite often the more I fail. Add to that mix a servant’s heart, a selfish heart and the Savior’s heart, and I’m a mass of confusion.

The Servants Heart

I don’t know if everyone is born with a servant’s heart and many suppress it, or if there’s just some of us who have been called and are painfully aware of that calling. But I can’t not serve. Sometimes to the point of pondering why. I don’t want to sound whiny, needy or ungrateful for people who depend on me, because I am, but there are days when I have to wonder how much stubble and hay I have loaded on my wagon for Heaven? My servants heart has always been worn on my sleeve, and easily accessible by some folks that I’m not so sure would return the favor, or even genuinely appreciate what I’ve done. I hesitated today to even write this post for fear of those I love to serve feeling they’ve over taxed by heart. Which is not true. Or that my children wouldn’t always feel welcome to ask my help. There are responsibilities that are for certain eternally valued from the stand point that God is a family man… He understands their needs and I want to as well. God was a friend who supplied the needs of the people, not only Salvation. And I want to too. But then there are times that I feel so overwhelmed, and my ability to say no is defined as “no, I wouldn’t mind doing that for you,” but my heart screams, “I don’t have time for this!” And so this morning I talked to Jesus for a little while about it. And His words as always were salve to my hurting soul.

You are too valuable to be squandered in the world. Everyone seeks their own gain, it’s human nature. But when you begin to seek mine and mine alone… it is then that you’ll realize your potential. I don’t’ need hours to accomplish my Word in you, I just need focus. Take it off the world today, put it on me.

Isn’t that the most amazing a heart can hear from God?

The Selfish Heart

The world around me isn’t the only one vying for time. Oh … my … stars. I’m the worst. I long to be a better servant and yet I’ll squander away valuable time on wasted breathing. Somedays I’ll just collapse and rather than focusing on encouraging myself spiritually I’ll turn on the world. Youtube. Television. Social Media. Games. You name it and I can be an addict! And pour time down the drain with nothing to show for it. It’s not even hay and stubble. It’s rubbish.

The Savior’s Heart

The Savior’s heart is what I long to have, and yet in my many weaknesses and distractions I lose focus. There’s that word again. Focus. It’s in most every conversation with the Lord… “Focus Shari. Just Focus on Me.” And deed I try. And deed I fail.

And so it is with Human nature.

2 Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

I love what Paul tells the church of Corinth. If we preach, it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus. And if serve, it’s not about you, it’s about Jesus. Wow! What an amazing vantage point to launch a day with.

Regardless of what I speak… is it what Jesus would say? Would He speak on the subject for which I speak, would He broach the subject or would He change it completely? Do my words sound like something Jesus would say, or something Shari would say? Do they speak peace or do they stir strife?

If I’m serving someone, is it something Jesus would do? Or would He tell me I’m casting my pearls before swine.

Paul’s wisdom came from experience, and I can well heed it.

When he wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:16-18 he wrote this:

16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

My take on Paul’s advice:

  • Men will forsake you… Let God deal with them.
  • The Lord will never forsake you… stay with Him.
  • Evil’s out there… Get Satan’s goat. Let God find glory in it.

I don’t know if I’ll ever learn how to say no. But I pray that as I grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I’ll seek His gain, for His glory so that I can live up to my potential for His sake.

Myself ~ Your Servant – Jesus Sake

Questions to ponder…

The Servant’s Heart

I long to serve…

The Selfish Heart

I feel that I am serving my selfishness when I…

The Savior’s Heart

When I ask Jesus where He desires me to be serving I hear…

But Now… You didn’t even notice

chick face

For almost twenty seconds I was proud of myself! When reading the “But Now” Chapter this morning (Isaiah 1) I read in verse nine about the remnant that God had left who serve Him,

Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

And I thought… hey! I’m that remnant! And just as I was patting myself on the back the 2nd time I felt the distinct feeling that even from the couch I had been kicked in the pants. Conviction poured into my soul as I read on…

11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

Did you catch it? I sure did. To what purpose is what you’re doing helping me out? You do, you write, you sing, you teach, and it’s all good… but that’s the desert of my meal. What about the meat and potatoes. The stuff that sticks to the ribs and will make it through the fire. The things you do are the pretty things, and I’m sick of it… what about the real work?

Isaiah 1: 21-23 ~  

 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:  Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

What a sad indictment to leadership. To “Shari quote it” Thy princes (leadership) are hanging out with lowlife (and not to win them to Christ), but they rather love what they receive for serving (as a matter of fact that’s why they do it, not for Me) and the people who need your help, you don’t even notice.

But now… you didn’t even notice.

For me it’s another day of serving Jesus doing the pretty stuff. And God’s all about it! There’s nothing wrong with it; we need the pretty stuff, but what about the ugly stuff that nobody wants to do? Like visiting the elderly and sick, helping the homeless, picking up the snotty nosed kid for the church, telling someone you don’t even know that Jesus loves them and wants to save their soul. What about those things? God wants the pretty stuff, but not if that’s the only thing we’re about.

God called them a murderer. That’s serious business. That means somebody’s blood is on our hands…And we didn’t even notice.

He’s Singin’ Our Song!

Isaiah 49:1-6
The Servants Song – a Holy Week Message

 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.  And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

He’s Singin’ our Song!

When Jesus sings you a song, you really should come to the concert! This is the second of four servant songs in the book of Isaiah. You’ll find the others in 42:1–950:4–1152:13–53:12). It struck a chord in my heart because it’s sung to me specifically. “Listen, O isles” refers to the Gentiles. That’s us! We were called the isles of the gentiles in Genesis 10:5 ~  By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. So here in the book of Isaiah we find God singing us a song of redemption because even then He knew that the Jews, His chosen, would reject Him (Then I said, I have laboured in vain,). How heart wrenching a statement if that were the end of the story. But the end of the story didn’t come until Calvary when He became a light to the Gentiles and His servant’s song is continually sung through the Church that we now serve.

He Saved us to Serve

Here we are in the midst of Holy Week, the week that changed the world forever and I see so many unchanged. I’m even guilty myself. We’re called to be the light of Christ for the world but deed there are times that I don’t feel much brighter than a small candle flame in a dark house. I fail God daily and most churches are far from lighting the path to Calvary, but rather they illuminate the rights of Christians, focusing far more on the fact that our sins are covered than on Whose blood it was that covered our sins. We’ve also forgotten that we’re called to serve.

From the womb Jesus knew He was God, and the purpose for which He was being born was to die in our place. And I fully believe that in the recesses of our minds is our own calling from the time we are conceived. Jeremiah 1:5 (one of my favorite verses) says ~ Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

You can choose to ignore Jesus’ song and His reminder that you’re called to serve, or you can experience the greatest opportunity in life which is to light the pathway for souls to Heaven. Have a blessed week!

Who Then is Willing?

It’s Sunday! My favorite day of the week. I spent the bulk of my Saturday preparing for a Sunday two weeks from now. During our Easter Cantata I’ll be putting the finishing touches on 7 paintings as the choir sings; paintings that for me tell the Easter story. I hope I’m “writing” one that the congregation can understand, sometimes my warped way of thinking doesn’t connect the dots like everyone else. But what a privilege it is to have your hands used by the Lord, especially when you know that there are likely more skilled hands in the congregation of the Lord for such a work as this.

In 1st Chronicles 29:3-6, King David is getting ready to pass the holy baton to his son, Solomon for the building of the temple. But before he does he lays a charge to the congregation of the Lord about their responsibilities for the house of the Lord.

Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house. Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal: The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord? Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,

The charge still stands:

Setting your affection

Sunday mornings don’t come easy for any of us; the last thing Satan is going to do is allow a child of God an easy ride to worship. He’ll use any and all methods of distraction to make sure that your heart and mind are in a thousand other directions and not on the things of God. Setting your affection is a lot like the setting of the foundation of the house of the Lord. It’s putting the idea of your service in concrete so that no matter what other things arise in life your heart is set on serving Christ.

Sacrificing your assets

David summed it up in verse 14 when he said “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” The reality of the matter is you’re not sacrificing your assets, you’re returning the smallest of portion which God gave you to begin with, and what a privilege to be able! It’s also a mindset. Given the choice, most will choose to keep it for themselves.

Submitting your artistry

Everyone has talents! And David as leader searched those talents out and used them all in the building of the house of the Lord. Our church house may be built but the church is far from finished, else God would have called us home. I hope today you’ll discover a talent worthy of the Lord’s service either in you, or in someone you lead and when God asks “Who then is Willing?” your hand will be lifted high in praise and service for the Kingdom of God. “It’s me O Lord! Ready and Willing!!!”

Where is God in the Tragedy?

Making sense of nonsense

There’s no shortage of it. Turn on the evening news and from start to finish it’s full of heartache and sorrow with an occasional “feel good” story thrown in in a vain attempt at balancing it out.  Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, he too tried to figure it out and I was again blown away by the profoundness of his faith as I read his words this morning in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3

Ecclesiastes 3:14

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

This morning a dear family in the faith is on my heart. The most unthinkable of tragedies has struck their family and for them there is no sense in it. There is total innocence on one side and utter degradation of man on the other, so how do we find God in the middle of this mess… we remember that we are made for eternity.

life is a season

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

As they say, “This too shall pass, right?” Though the words roll easily off the tongue, the season of “passing” is not the greatest of times, it alone sometimes feels like an eternity. I’ve had those moments in time when I wondered “How can ‘this’ possibly ever get better? ‘This’ doesn’t feel like a seasonal thing, it’s life altering. And when I read the second half of that verse… that there is “purpose;” it can make even less sense to me. How could God have a purpose in that? I don’t think the tragedies of life are the purpose. God is good (Mark 10:18). God’s not “in” the tragedy, He’s at the end of the tragedy. He’s the One that’s waiting for this to all be over; this mayhem that Satan set into motion in the Garden of Eden. He’s at the end waiting for us to get home, to the land He created where there is no night, no sorrow or sadness. Life is a season.

life is service

Ecclesiastes 3:13

And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

From now until the day that God welcomes us home is our time of reasonable service. Romans 12:1  That reasonable service includes serving God through the times that make no sense to help everyone get to the land of perfect sense. We can’t make sense out of evil, but we can serve and trust in God who is nothing but good.

life is nothing without salvation2

Ecclesiastes 3:15-17

That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

There have been so very many “why’s “in my life, until I get to a verse like this and then I realize that there is no righteousness in me. I’m going to stand before a righteous God knowing that I am there solely because Christ’s blood allowed it. In earth’s perspective I can view the wickedness of the day and think that I’m not as vile as they, but in the reality of God there is no degree of sin. It all separates us from Him and life on earth is nothing without the Salvation of Christ. It’s a fleeting fraction of time that’s gone before we can get turned around. And where is God? Waiting.

There is so much to do to get our friends and family prepared for eternity. Let’s get busy!