Devotions

Monthly Archives: January, 2019

Going to Work

Back to Reach | Devotion #4: Going to Work
Sierra Combs | Women’s Ministry Director

Lately, I have been reflecting on just how awesome God is. Sure, I have known this most of my life, but this week I just keep getting bombarded with the true reality of how awesome He is to me. I am reminded of how much He loves me and how faithful He is. Also, He gives the best gifts. He gave, for example, the gift of His Son Jesus Christ to be my Savior. That one is easily the best gift I could ever be given. Also at the top of the list is the gift of the Holy Spirit. He sent me that “Guy” when I got saved and man, do I love and need His help on a daily basis. The gift list is endless. God has given me so many gifts, and not because I deserve them, but because He is just that incredible. However, not all of the gifts He has given me are just for me to keep and cherish for myself. Nope! I think of the old Sandi Patty song when she sings “The Father gave the Son, the Son gave the Spirit, the Spirit gives us life so that we could give the gift of love. And the gift goes on.” (And on and on and on. That song is catchy and will now be stuck in my head for the next three days). When we become children of God, along with all the gifts that God gives us, He also gives us some jobs. We are called to spread the Gospel to the world. We are called to love people. We are called to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). God does not just give us His spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities to serve ourselves. He calls us to take those abilities and use them to serve others.

Serving others is not natural for the majority of us. We are born with sinful selfish natures, much-preferring others to serve us. But that is not what Christ calls us to do, and not what He modeled in His own life and death. He is the perfect example of a servant, being that He left His throne in Heaven, came down to Earth as a poor man, poured into others throughout His entire ministry and then died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins so that we could be counted righteous by the Father. He did not have to do that. But He did. And if God has saved you from your sin, He has called you to serve. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NASB) says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God…whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” When we serve others with the intention to glorify God, I am convinced that He will deepen our love for people and turn our attention away from ourselves and more towards the needs of others. 

If God has saved you, you should not just be sitting. Get out there and serve! There are so many people in need of our help, and we are called to shine that bright light of Jesus to them. People should see Him when they see us. God has given us talents and abilities so that we can use them to help others as we glorify Him, so it is time to get out there to use them! Not only will serving others bless those in need, but it will also deepen our faith and help connect us with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that God will turn our focus away from our own needs and desires and replace them with hearts overflowing with care and compassion for those around us. It is time to get to work!

Serving

Back to Reach | Devotion #3: Serving
Sue Harrington

Mark 10:45 tells us, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.” Ransom means paid the debt.

This is quite the opposite of the world’s view of serving. The world thinks that climbing the corporate ladder, having staff that does what they want them to do, and meet their needs and desires, that they have reached high status.  They believe they have achieved greatness.  That is a “me” mentality. The Word of God, however, tells us when serving others, we serve God.  It is a fulfillment like no other.  When focusing on someone or something else, the attention is then taken from us.   

Serving is not a glamorous concept in this world, but Scripture tells us in Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, bothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”  Serving gives us the opportunity to reflect or imitate Jesus, our greatest example of selflessness. Others will be able to tell what you are by what they see you do. They will see the heart through the actions.

God is always looking at the heart seeing how willing we are to serve, not by how well, but why, and the why should be because of our love for Jesus and our gratitude for all He has done for us. We are called to serve with a grateful heart expecting nothing in return. God will open opportunities for you to serve if you just ask Him. He will also equip you for that very moment if you trust Him. So be obedient to God’s Word; try it and I know it will fill you with such joy and peace, and you will then become more like Him anticipating the next time you get your next mission. It could be as easy as opening a door for an elderly person or giving a hug to someone who is struggling. So go ahead, pray and then ask someone how or if you can help them. Open your heart to serving, and I think you will find it easier than you thought it would be. It not only reflects God’s love but points them to Jesus.

Martha and Mary

Back to Reach | Devotion #2: Martha and Mary
Larry Gabbara | Financial Bookkeeper

“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 11:13

Serving should bring us joy, not feel like a chore.  When we love the Lord, we want to serve Him. The Bible teaches us that if we serve the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart.

“But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’” Luke 10:40

God has given us two purposes in this life. We are to serve others and worship God. God teaches us that serving others strengthens our faith. Serving is a selfless act to show God our love towards Him. Jesus set the example of serving for us.  He said that He came to serve, not to be served. Serving should never be done out of a sense of obligation, but with a giving heart, as part of worship. 

We should all be a balance of Martha and Mary, taking time to learn and rest at Jesus’ feet and taking the time to serve and worship. Serving is an act of worship; we should remember when serving Jesus, we have to have a servant’s heart. 

Serving allows us to discover and develop our relationship with Jesus.  It will help us show the world that being a servant is what was commanded of us. That is part of obedience. The devil will remind us of all the reasons why we cannot serve: “I do not have time, I do not know what to do, I do not have the right skills, no one asked me to help.” These are weak excuses.

We can all serve; it helps us build bonds with others.  It allows us to be a part of spreading the Gospel.  Offering to help is a simple step that builds your relationship with Jesus. On the flip side, it helps those around us. You walk away with a feeling of joy because you were a part of the big picture of helping spread the Gospel to those who may not know Jesus. 

Remember that it was Jesus who first taught us to serve.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

Action and Obedience

Back to Reach | Devotion #1: Action and Obedience
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

My grandmother was a huge influence in my life, and she was a beautiful example of a humble servant. She taught me that it was important to be involved in God’s work.  She was a quiet woman who taught children in Sunday School to love Jesus and know the stories of God’s Word. She taught me the importance of serving.  I am so thankful for all that I learned as I served alongside her.  

The Bible has a lot to say about serving. The Bible study notes from biblereferenceguide.com say that the word “serve,” “servant,” and “service” occur in the Bible well over 1,100 times.   The text continues, “In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for servant, ‘ebed,’ contains at least two key ingredients: Action (the servant as ‘worker’) and Obedience.”

Action and Obedience: It is easy to understand that serving requires action, as you are usually actively doing something when you serve.  We do not necessarily think of obedience when we think about serving.  In His Word, God tells us over and over to serve.  Commandments require obedience.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

This verse in Ephesians is very clear.  God has work for us all to do, specific work that was prepared just for us. It is about good works! God has great expectations for each one of us.  

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

We cannot out give God! He challenges us to give generously. God wants to lavishly give back to us. Invest your time, your energy, and your talents and God will give back to you in ways that you never imagined possible.  

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

God asks us to be obedient, work willingly, and do all things as if we are doing it for Him. I know that when I get to Heaven, I want to hear my Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” We are serving Christ Jesus! He went to the cross for us and paid the debt for all of our sins. We could never repay all that Jesus has done for us. We should want to serve Him well all of our days.    

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10

God will remember what we have done to serve Him. He sees the love that we share when we serve others. 

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

You have a lot to share! We all do, and it pleases God when we do!

  

What better reason could we need to serve?  

Get Up and Grow

Grow | Devotion #6: Get Up and Grow
Pat MacDermaid | Clothing Closet

Grow is a small word that means so much. A newborn baby grows fast from infant to toddler, child, pre-teen, teenager, and finally to a fully grown adult. They are learning and changing along the way.

In 2 Peter 3:18, we read, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” How do we do that? One thing we need to do is read God’s Holy Book. It is important to pray for understanding and wisdom to grow from what we are reading. Another excellent way to grow is to join a Growth Community Bible Study. One will learn a lot and meet other people who also want to grow.

Growing in Christ is not only reading the Word of God, but it is also living the Word of God. Prayer is another way we grow in Christ. The conversations we have with Him will help us to know what He would have us pray. It may be an individual, group of people, situation, or our country. Get used to asking Him to direct your prayer life and He will. Spend more time praying for others than yourself; He knows what you need.

You can grow more like Jesus by acts of kindness, a smile, holding a door for someone, and saying, “Thank you.” Take someone’s cart back for them. Cut someone’s grass.

Jesus did so many kind things. He fed thousands of people before He sent them home. He healed the sick and brought dead people back to their loved ones. 

Kindness matters. I remember a lady who spoke to my heart. Before I came to serve at the Community Center, I managed the local video store. She was my first customer. One morning, she came in the door and went right to the back wall, got a movie, and came to the counter. As she got close to the counter, I could see she was wearing a very pretty pair of earrings. I told her how pretty they were. She paid for her movie and left. The next morning the phone rang; it was the lady from the previous day. She said, “I don’t know if you remember, but I was at the video store yesterday, and you complimented me on my earrings.” I told her I remembered and asked if I could help her with something. She replied, “I have been up all night thinking about how kind you had been to me. I have been feuding with my family for the last two weeks, and you were the first person in two weeks that has said a kind word to me. I had to call and thank you.” Kindness matters.

That phone call touched my heart. When she comes to my mind, I always say a prayer for her and her family. Growth is a process, a lifelong thing. There are many ways to grow, and kindness is a good place to start.



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