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.

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.

How Do You Handle Feelings of Anxiety?—Here’s The Answer.

What do people do with feelings of anxiety or fear? Aside from those who are medically diagnosed with anxiety disorders, fearful people tend to fuss and worry over potential scenarios and outcomes. They might rehearse the possibilities in their mind and take worries to bed, which keeps them tossing and turning all night. Or maybe they try to numb themselves with distractions, drugs or alcohol.

God wants us to bring our worries to Him—then He can calm our anxious burdens with His peace, which surpasses all comprehension (Phil. 4:6-7). And today we have advantages that weren’t available in the days of the Old Testament. Instead of waiting for a prophet to deliver a message from the Lord, we have the completed Scriptures, which are God’s revelation of Himself, His works, and His ways. Through His Word, we learn to know and understand the Lord and His plans so we can pray more confidently.

As we spend time in the Scriptures, we can increasingly see from God’s perspective. Then our prayers will be focused on what He wills rather than on what we want. Through this kind of prayer, our spiritual needs are met, and we can set aside anxiety to live in complete trust in the Lord.

How Do You See Obstacles? Through God’s Eyes or Your Own?

Jericho was the first city the Israelites needed to conquer in their quest for the land of Canaan. When sending a pair of spies to check it out, Joshua probably didn’t realize that he would receive a glimpse of the Lord’s impressive behind-the-scenes activity.

We must remember to look at every obstacle through the lens of God’s unlimited strength and resources. Anything that appears to block His plans is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His sovereign power. Just because we don’t see anything happening, that doesn’t mean He’s inactive. God is at work on the other side of our obstacles, arranging the details and bringing His plans to fruition.

When the spies returned to Joshua, they reported that the people of Jericho were scared to death. Having heard about the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, they were gripped by fear of the Lord. The stage was set for the conquest, though by that point, Joshua hadn’t done a thing. Sometimes we think we need to be involved in the solution to our problem, but God is not limited with regard to whom or what He can use to accomplish His will. In this case, He worked in the hearts of the opposition by instilling demoralizing fear.

For the Christian, great obstacles need not be reasons for discouragement. Although much of the Lord’s activity is silent and invisible, we can be sure He is dynamically working out His will for our life. When the pieces of His plan are in place, He will move us on to victory.

Coming Before God With Confidence

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”— James 5:16

Given the righteousness that we have in Christ Jesus, anyone in Christ may come before God in prayer with a clear conscience and without fear of condemnation. In point of fact, anyone in Christ may come before God with the expectation of good results.

Hebrews 4:16 says “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” We don’t have to grovel before God or get someone better than us to get what we need. Every Christian may come before Him with great confidence.

When A Crisis Brings Doubt

Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.—Psalm 86:1

When life is moving along smoothly, it’s easy to say, “God answers prayer.” But a crisis can bring doubt, especially if the Lord is not responding as quickly as we might like. That’s when we may be tempted to bargain with God as if He could be manipulated into acting on our behalf. However, the goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him, trusting that He will answer in His own way and time.

Waiting on the Lord is fairly easy when we’re not facing anything urgent. But difficulties and suffering tend to make us impatient. We may even begin to find fault with God, thinking that if He truly loved us, He would intervene and bring relief.

As we seek the Lord for help, David’s prayers in the Psalms provide wonderful patterns for us to follow. He faced many dire situations and continued to turn to God. He recounts God’s character—gracious, good, ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call on Him. These characteristics are the basis for trust.

Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through the crises of life. Because He is faithful, we know that He will keep His promises. His holiness causes us to examine our life and repent of any sins that are hindering our prayers. And His mercy, grace, and love give us the comfort we need to endure hardship.

Share “The Good News” With Others And Save Someone

I started writing this blog some time ago. How long to be exact I’m not sure. I started out with the intention of writing uplifting messages that show God’s love and care for us. I felt like a lot of people needed to read these stories. But, much to my surprise, my daily statistics show very few people visit my blog. Therefore, I am prayerfully considering to “continue writing anyway.” That’s right, I’m not giving up just yet.

You see, numbers in the grand scheme of things aren’t important. It’s the message that’s important. I believe with all my heart that someone out there will stumble across my blog one day and be saved by reading it’s messages. That’s why I continue to write each day.

I will not give up on that one individual who desperately needs to hear about Jesus and His soul saving action of dying on the cross. Many people don’t know who Jesus is and what He did for mankind. In my opinion that is sad. We as believers have the responsibility of sharing the “good news” with others. What “good news” you might ask?

The “good news” is that Jesus died for our sins so that we may have eternal life in heaven after we die. There is only one way to an eternal life in heaven and that is through our belief that Jesus died for our sins. Take the time to tell others about this great act and the free gift given to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ. Your gift of the gospel may be the one thing that saves that person from eternal damnation. So, give it away. It’s your free “Good News” gift to those around you.