Developing a Servant Spirit

Personal ambition and servant-hood aren’t always compatible. In fact, they are often at odds with each other. A servant’s goal is to please his or her master in whatever way is required, but personal ambition strives for self-advancement. Jesus’ words from today’s passage must have sounded foreign to the disciples’ ears since, according to the thinking of their culture, greatness was acquired by striving for it, not by serving.

Like them, we live in a world where many people are seeking to make a name for themselves. They set goals, make plans, and do whatever is necessary to achieve what they’ve set out to do. But as Christians, we’re to live by a different standard: exalt Christ, obey His commands, and serve Him faithfully by doing His will, not our own.

We’re not called to gain fame and fortune by leaving our footprints in concrete for all to admire.  Our task is to humbly follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Whether our lives have a large or small impact is up to God, not us. The greatest acts of service are not usually flashy displays; more often they’re commonplace gestures like being kind to strangers, ministering to fellow believers, and praying for others.

Jesus humbled Himself, surrendered His rights, and obeyed God even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). Being His servant begins with the same attitude. It requires helping others when it’s not convenient, doing tasks that are not glamorous, and obeying the Lord even if it’s costly. We aren’t on earth to build our own kingdom but to faithfully serve God as He builds His.

Are You Going Through A Personal Storm?

We live in a fallen world filled with sin and all manner of evil, yet so often we put on rose-colored glasses and expect our life to be full of comfort, ease, and pleasure. And then when storms come upon us, bringing disruption, trouble, conflict, and heartache, we start wondering where the Lord is. After all, we are believers in Jesus Christ, and God is our loving heavenly Father. So why is He letting this happen?

The disciples would have preferred smooth sailing, too—across the Sea of Galilee. But in the storm, they saw Jesus in a new way. After He calmed the waves with His words, they asked in amazement, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matt. 8:27). Through that storm, they recognized Jesus as almighty God, who has power even over the physical laws of the universe. His purpose was not to drown them but to show them His glory.

The same is true of us. Storms in our life are opportunities to see the Lord in a new light and in a magnified way. It’s in our extreme need that we begin to see we have too small a view of God. We must be careful not to reduce Him to a doting Father who winks at our sin and just wants us happy, healthy, and wealthy.

Perhaps you are going through a personal storm of some kind right now. If so, ask the Lord to open your eyes to a greater understanding of Him. Even if your circumstances don’t change, Jesus Christ is the Lord of peace, and He can comfort you.

Dealing With The Doubts In Your Life

Having doubts about things and circumstances in life is probably thought of as normal in the unbeliever. However, as Christians, we should be secure in our mind as to the truth of God and God’s word, the bible. The issue of doubt is discussed in the bible, where it says, “But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”—James 1:6-8

Do you have trouble with doubts with just about everything including your walk with the Lord? The following is a list of different types of emotional doubt that can impact your walk with the Lord. Take a look at this list and see if there is any type of doubt that you’ve experienced in your life. Then, it’s important to recognize that God wants to help you in this area of your life.

a) psychological causes: The most common cause of emotional doubts (and perhaps even all types of uncertainty) stems from psychological states such as anxiety or depression and, in particular, moods which persons frequently undergo. In fact, in a certain select sense, psychological doubt as a whole might be termed mood-related. At any rate, this brand of questioning often masquerades as factual doubt but must be dealt with in a different manner. It has been shown that to many individuals who assumed that their problem had to do with evidence for faith, only to discover that the true cause was their attitude towards the subject.

b) medical causes: Doubt can also come from any number of medical factors, including internal conditions such as manic depressive states or diabetes on the one hand, or externally prompted conditions caused by the consumption of alcohol or other types of drugs. To be sure, it is frequently not an easy matter to decide which of such factors are internally or externally motivated. But while the central cause is medical in nature, doubts which originate in this manner manifest themselves in chiefly emotional patterns. The lesson here concerns the needed input of the medical community on various issues surrounding the treatment of doubts.

c) faulty view of God: To have a wrong concept of God can be very instrumental in the formulation of doubt. And, of course, while it could be argued that no believer would have a perfect view of God, some specific patterns of thought are potentially more harmful than others. For instance, to believe that God does not answer prayers, especially during times of stress or that He is morally responsible for pain will frequently lead to constant personal crises. So if assurance depends on our view of God and His faithfulness, then this is certainly an area which needs constant cultivation and development in the believer’s life.

d) childhood problems: Experiences which one undergoes in his younger years can have a profound affect on later doubt. For example, child abuse in various forms can make it very difficult for one to accept God’s love. People struggle with how God could ever love them; it is very difficult to convince them otherwise.

e) old wounds: Somewhat related to the previous type of doubt derived from childhood problems, this variety is caused by painful situations throughout life. Breaking up with a lover, the death of a loved one or the betrayal of a friend are examples of wounds which could cause a person to wonder if he can fully trust God. In many respects the results of such questioning are similar to that in the former category.

f) judging by feelings: A very common problem, especially with Christians who lack assurance of salvation, comes from reactions based on one’s feelings. “Sometimes I don’t feel saved” or “I don’t have the same feeling which I used to” are regular fare for the counselor. In fact, the feeling that Christianity might not be true after all may besiege all believers at some point.

g) need for attention: In some cases, the expression of doubt is most obviously due to the need for friendship and love, often from one who feels that these are somehow lacking in his own life. The doubt could certainly be real, but the need for companionship attention and love could be even greater, to the point where the problem never seems to get solved.

h) lack of sleep: A commonly overlooked cause of doubt can sometimes be remedied as simply as getting a normal amount of sleep. A biblical example here is Elijah, who, when he experienced depression, laid down to sleep. After Elijah had rested, an angel recommended food (I Kings 19:4-6).

i) peer pressure: It has long been thought that one of the categories of doubt which is seldom mentioned but is extremely important is the pressure exerted on believers to be more moderate in their views. This assault is not a frontal attack, but is one which can continue to build up to quite a persuasive drone in its call to stop believing old “wives tales” in favor of “modern” approaches. To be more like our peers is often a desire which is difficult not to heed, at least in part. In fact the belief (whether true or false) that few other intelligent persons hold our position can produce devastating results, especially over a period of time. The doubt which is produced generally professes no new facts, just the same old temptations to change.

j) Christian hypocrisy: Doubt can sometimes be caused by observing the beliefs and actions of fellow believers. Religious wars, persecutions, inquisitions and questionable stances on such issues as “slavery, race, war, women’s rights, and social justice” are examples of the potentially offensive beliefs and behaviors of Christians which can, in turn, cause doubts.

k) forgiven sin: The fear that one’s sins have not really been forgiven is a cause for doubt in many believers. More specifically, the idea that one has committed the unpardonable sin so that one cannot be forgiven strikes even more fear in the hearts of others. So while such quandaries can have factual ramifications, they perhaps more frequently are manifested in emotional terms. And while a good exegesis of relevant Scripture portions may certainly be called for as a crucially important part of the cure, the emotional elements will frequently have to be dealt with, as well.

l) anxiety about the future: It is not enough for Christians to be worried about the present. To be honest, anxiety concerning the unknown future has probably been a cause for fear in most believers at some time or another. For some, it is manifested in the query as to whether they can really “hold out” until the end. Again, a study of the Scripture and perhaps some treatment of the emotional portion is needed in order to show that this fear is misplaced.

m) judgment and Hell: Even in believers one frequently encounters the uncertainty that, after all, perhaps it is still the case that one could have done everything that the Bible requires for salvation (as far as one knows) but still be sent to Hell. If informal surveys can be trusted at all, this fear is very widely experienced by many Christians at least at some time. And, as in the cases of the previous two types of fear, both Scriptural exegesis and treatment of the emotional factors may be required.

So, there you have it. As you can see there are many different types of doubt, all of which can be dealt with through continued prayer and faith in our Lord. God is always there for you and will relieve any anxiety you might have. From A to Z in doubts, God has got your back. So, let go of your doubts today and believe God’s word for you. He loves you that much.

God Changes Us Through Our Prayers

This much is sure: God will teach you to pray. Don’t think for a minute that he’s glaring at you from a distance with crossed arms and a scowl, waiting for you to get your prayer life together. Just the opposite!

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with Me.”

Jesus waits on the porch. He taps…and calls. He waits for you to open the door. To pray is the hand of faith on the door handle of your heart. The happy welcome to Jesus says, Come in, O King. Come in. The kitchen is messy, but come in. I’m not much of a conversationalist, but come in.

Before amen—comes the power of a simple prayer! God changes His people through such moments.

Alarm! Alarm! Our Planet Is Dying And God Is Sad.

In case you’ve been living in a cave or on another planet for the past 12 months, you might not be aware of the significant issues surrounding climate change and it’s impact on our earth. Typhoons, earthquakes, fires, floods, drought, hurricanes and global warming are just the tip of the iceberg.

Countless headlines are sounding the clarion call to all who will listen that it’s time to take action now before we witness a catastrophic apocalypse right in front of our eyes. All forms of life given to us by God are dying off and going extinct because their habitats are changing or being eradicated by fires, man or climate change.

Will it really take our planet’s eco-system collapsing in front of our very eyes before we’ll do something about it? Depending on our politicians, including the President is like trying to stuff six pounds of crap into a four pound bag. It doesn’t work!

I’ve been following various news and media articles about this very important topic and it saddens me to think we are losing the battle. Will everyone please wake up, call your Congressman or Congresswoman and plead your case. If enough citizens will do this we might have a chance.

If you take the apathetic approach that someone else will make the call or contact, then we are doomed. Take a stand now to save our planet before it’s too late.

A Companion of Fools Will Suffer Harm Through Compromise

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—Proverbs 13:20

Compromise may be helpful for some relationships, but it can hurt our spiritual journey. Bending God’s principles is risky.

For example, suppose a Christian man makes some new acquaintances, who don’t share his beliefs. Having grown up in the church, he has practically memorized Proverbs 13:20—“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—and recognizes the verse is meant to protect Christians from worldly influences. But he rationalizes that spending time here or there with these friends won’t hurt him. Eventually, however, he ends up spending more time with them than with believers and begins to question his own beliefs. Heeding that proverb might have helped him avoid drifting away from the heavenly Father.

To navigate such situations, we must look ahead for possible danger. Even choices that seem trivial can have far-reaching consequences. But the Lord equips us with a conscience and the Holy Spirit, who sounds an alarm if we veer into dangerous territory.

For us to hear these warnings, our heart must be tuned into God’s Spirit and Word. Relying on our own understanding can lead to trouble. But those who trust the Lord and apply His principles will find straight paths through potentially dangerous situations.