Offering timely words of response in the name of Jesus is a special acknowledgement of faithful service to a fellow Christian.What a blessing it is to be around a person who ministers in that way!We would call someone like that an Encourager.
"I don't serve God because I expect a pat on the back," you may protest.That's true.However, there are at least four occasions in the New Testament that teach us to encourage one another (1st Thessalonians 4:18, 2nd Timothy 4:2, Titus 2:6, and Hebrews 3:13).
I received an email from a pastor who responded to one of the GospeLines devotionals:
"Thanks, friends.That is a good story.I had seen it before; was glad to read it again.As I read the part where the two teens talked to the older minister after the meeting, I thought, 'At least they said something to him!'Too many times, I've heard nothing afterwards; and have been nearby when people said nothing to other ministers, as well.I'm not referring to the usual statement, 'I enjoyed your message, pastor,' but to some comment or question that would indicate even the tiniest bit of interest in God's Word and spiritual growth.My heart is breaking... Surely, somebody is hungry... You know, it seems to me that we are nearer to Jesus catching His bride away than we realize!Maranatha!See you on the way up!"
Pastors are people, too.I don't know how you view your pastor, but from experience I can tell you that he is in need of encouragement from you.Tell him you love him.Let him know his words helped you.It will bless your heart and he will know that God has used him to meet your needs.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, remind us that those who are anointed to preach the Gospel are in need of encouragement, too.Open my silent lips so that I may boldly speak the words of appreciation which are on my heart, yet often remain private.Challenge me to become more sensitive to the efforts of others by sharing words of love and affirmation.Amen and amen.
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering.Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.Instead, fix your attention on God.You'll be changed from the inside out.Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:2 - The Message)
There is a song sung during worship that lifts me up with such joy and brings God into clearer focus.Verse two and the chorus of My God is Real follow –
Some folks may doubt Some folks may scorn All can desert And leave me alone But as for me I'll take God's part For God is real and I can feel Him in my heart
Chorus: Yes, God is real Real in my soul Yes, God is real For He has washed And made me whole His love for me Is like pure gold Yes, God is real For I can feel Him in my soul
Have you noticed that when you’re on your faith walk, things aren’t the way they were and not always what they seem?God is in the business of transforming your life and your circumstance and sometimes, others don’t recognize you and you don’t recognize yourself.
We’re similar to a caterpillar, by God’s design, insulated from predators as it prepares to come into its own as a butterfly - a winged beauty.During our metamorphosis, we shed the old and become new - a beauty in God’s sight.We’re changing from the inside out.
While we may not see or understand the entire process, God is real and He‘s in control.He uses our trials to focus our attention on Him and we grow and strive to become what He says we are.
It is more than a notion dealing with the reactions of others, no matter how well intentioned.We have always sought the world’s admiration.But, what the world has to say is irrelevant, especially when we seek to have eternal life.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank You for taking this ordinary life and making it into something beautiful. Thank You for Your transforming power.Help me to become more mature in Your word and in my walk.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday: July 18, 2007
"Be a Blessing"
Today would be Dad's 87th birthday - The Lord called him home November 26, 2004.
Last night, one of this area's finest men of God, Pastor Tim Ellis, was called home.His death was sudden and unexpected because he was a young man in apparent excellent health.His family and friends cannot help but ask, "Why Lord?Why Pastor Tim and why now?
As I thought about this sad news, I remembered a passage from Dad's obituary:
"Brother, historian, coach, adventurer, watch collector, salesman, husband, father, storyteller and friend - He was a lifetime of blessings to all who knew him. He taught us to never take one day of life for granted."
I don't know if Pastor Ellis was a historian, coach, adventurer, watch collector or salesman; but, I'm sure those who knew him could fill in those blanks with appropriate giftings.However, I know he was "a lifetime of blessings to all who knew him" and I know he would quickly tell anyone to "never take one day of life for granted."
What a wonderful way to live our lives - being a blessing to all who know us and never taking one day of life for granted.
We don't know why God called my Dad home when He did and we don't know why He chose this time to call home Pastor Ellis.We do know that God's wisdom is greater than ours and that we must trust Him in all things.Maybe God wanted this message to go to someone out there who is wondering why they're here.Maybe He wants us to never take life for granted.But, most of all, maybe He wants you to know that it's His will that you and be a blessing to all who know you.
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
Sorry, there was no devotional today... We had technical difficulties
≈ Devotional for Friday: July 20, 2007
"I wish I hadn't said that," thought the twelve year old boy as the father of one of his classmates glared at him angrily.
Just moments before, the shamed youth had shouted, "Hit the ball, ONE-EYE."In that brief, reckless moment, he showed no concern for his friend at the plate, struggling with his handicap of blindness in one eye.But the half-blind friend was in the game doing his best, and the heckler was in the bleachers.
This awful memory still haunts me 50 years later.I wish I hadn't said that.
Have you wished you could take back something that blurted out of your mouth before you engaged your mind?We all have.A refreshing word of kindness in our harsh world momentarily soothes all the rough edges from a day that has gone awry.
It comes as a sweet surprise to people accustomed to living a guarded life, shielding themselves from expected criticism.But that sudden outburst of ungodly speech can just as quickly mangle the spirit of one whose tender heart is in desperate need of hearing a good word from someone.
May God help us to heed the words of King David, "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."(Psalm 13:3 NIV) Amen and amen.