A Servant of the Lord

We are children loved by our Father. We have His attention at all times. He wants only what is best for us. That does not mean He pampers us or gives us everything we want. As members of the Lord’s family, we are given work to do. We are not only His children we are His servants and have responsibilities.

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He is clear about how we are to behave and how we are to go about our work. I have to admit I don’t always find it easy to follow Jesus’ example.  I fall short more often than not. This time of year can be troublesome and challenging for this child.

I would like to say I rarely quarrel with anyone but that’s not quite true. I just have arguments with them at home when I am by myself.

I like to think of myself as kind but too often there are needs that I just don’t see. Then there are those two words after be kind…to everyone. Everyone? That’s what the Word says.

As for teaching, I have little talent for instructing others though I do try to be a good example. But sometimes I fail in that big time.

Then we come to being patient with difficult people. I am fairly patient with them, except when I am not…and that does happen. Maybe I would be more patient if I would remember…I can be difficult and need the patience of others.

This time of year I find myself asking for forgiveness in all the above more often than in other seasons. I wonder why that is? I can rationalize my behavior but the bottom line is being a servant does not come naturally to me and during the Christmas season I am often the difficult one wanting to be served rather than serve.

I am trying not to quarrel, to be kind and teach,
to be patient with difficult people.
It takes time and thought and prayer.

I am thankful that I am loved. I am thankful that I am forgiven.
I am most thankful that there is a Christmas season.

Blessing this day of grace,
patricia

Writings Of The Past Were Written For Today

In the early days of the church some questioned the need for the Old Testament writings. Knowing that the church is not under law but under grace made them think the ancient writings no longer had value for believers.  Paul tells them that things written before Pentecost, the beginning of the church age, have lessons.  They were written not only for the people of the past but for those of the future to teach and instruct.  Just as the ancient writings told the people of the past about their future hope in Christ, to help in times of trials, they would teach the present believers how to hold onto their present hope, Christ, in difficult times.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4 KJV

The first century Christians had the saints of old, like Job, Daniel, and David, and their stories of how they felt and struggled and responded to trials and tribulations as examples to encourage them to persevere.  We, today, not only have the saints and martyrs of the Old Testament, we also have those of the New Testament, and we have Jesus Christ.

From the scripture record of the lives of faithful believers we learn about patience, what it is and what it is not.

Patience is not passive but active.
Patience implies suffering but not defeat.
Patience perseveres it does not give up.
Patience endures it does not disappear.

Through the lives of those who believed before us we are comforted.  We are comforted by the stories of the Old Testament believers because of their hope in the Savior, who had not yet been fully revealed; and we are comforted by the New Testament believers in how they walked in the footsteps of the Savior.  We are encouraged by the honesty of their suffering.  They give us confidence that we, too, will have victory in our trials.  

All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16 NIV

Paul told the believers of his day that knowing God’s Word would teach them patience and they would be comforted and have hope; and in their hope they would have blessings.

 Paul is also speaking to the church today.  Are we listening?

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25 NIV

When Beauty Is Contradicted

In nature there is great beauty and great contradiction.  Wind can be a soft breeze or a tornado or hurricane, the gentle lapping waves of the sea can become powerful crashing waves, powdery falling snow can turn into an icy blowing blizzard, and the sun can be warm and lovely or a blinding searing heat.

Likewise, there is great beauty in man and there can be ugliness.  There are kind, loving, compassionate people and there are mean, hateful, destructive people.  There are those who are honest, hard-working, and humble and there are those who are opportunists, philanderers, filled with boastful pride.

The world, of nature and man, is beautiful but it can also be a scary place.  God did not create it to be so, but so it is.  What are we to do when the beauty is sometimes in the shadows of ugliness?  How are we to respond when everything seems chaotic and out of control?  What does God have to say?

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, and of love, and of self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7 niv

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

Philippians 4:6 amplified bible

It is interesting that we are not only told what not to do, be timid or anxious, but also the actions we are to take to eliminate the negative response.  We are reminded that we have a spirit of power and love and self-discipline.  And, with that spirit we are told to pray and petition, pray and ask specifically, with grateful hearts, telling God what we want.

Whenever we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations or circumstances, and we begin to fear and fret and feel anxious what we must do is remember His Word.  It is filled with the “Holy Spirit’s Comforting Commands” for everything and all circumstances.

Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions.  Do what I say and you will live well.  My teaching is as precious as your eyesight–guard it!  Write it on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart.

Proverbs 7:1-3 msg

See another comforting command!

I wonder at the contradictions of this world.

I wonder at the harmony of the Spirit in this world.

Just wondering…


Keep your head in all situations

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul addresses the problem of false teachers coming into the church.  Paul has a lot to say about these false teachers and those who follow them, none of it pretty.

He writes that the false teachings will spread like gangrene, destroy the faith of some, worm their way into homes , and oppose the truth.  Those who follow will not put up with sound doctrine and will gather around them many teachers to say what they want to hear and will turn away from truth and turn to lies and myths.

Most of us know someone, or perhaps many, who are decieved and follow a teacher who does not acknowledge the truth and promotes lies and myths.  When talking with these folks about spiritual things it seems they often prefer an argument to discussion.  They want to talk all about their beliefs and teacher but will not listen to what you have to say about bible truths or Jesus and what you believe. 

If their beliefs are questioned, the one asking the questions is sometimes thought to be unintelligent or unenlightened, living with outdated principles and views, having radical or impossible convictions that deny personal rights and freedoms.

How we are to respond to those who believe and worship false gods?  Paul says we are not to quarrel because it has no value and to avoid godless chatter.  What we are to do is be kind, teach, and not be resentful.  When opposed we are to gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them…a knowledge of the truth”.

Did you notice?  Paul says “in the hope God will…”.  It is not up to us to convince anyone of anything.  Some will not listen, some will argue, some will ridicule, some will feel threatened and become angry.  Do not take it personally.  Their salvation is between them and God.  We just offer the message and rejoice with those who respond to God, turning from the lies and myths, and worship in light and truth.

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because they produce quarrels.  And the servant of God must not quarrel…

2 Timothy 2:23-24

In this scripture, Paul is talking about false teachers and those who follow what they teach.  But do you not think the advise is worthy of all conversation?  It would be a much more peaceful world if everyone learned to exchange ideas and thoughts in a careful and caring way.

But you, keep your head in all situations…

2 Timothy 4:5a

I wonder why I am sometimes drawn into arguments?

I wonder why I think my arguments are so wise?

Just wondering…