Without the Ministry I am Lost

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...
Jesus’ reason to live was to obey His Heavenly Father by the means of selfless service.

There are many things that could keep any Christian away from the ministry for a certain point of time.

One of the most common is sin. Sin destroys the strength and the credibility of any servant of God. It also renders him/her powerless – he or she is stripped of the miraculous empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Another factor is the busyness of secular life. Though everything should be spiritual for the saint, but much of the activities that comes from the world takes away some precious time that should be set aside for God alone.

Yet to avoid the ministry is a suicide for the growing Christian. In fact a Christian could never grow without being involved in the ministry. The ministry does not need Christians who think they don’t need the ministry. Rather, these proud Christians could never survive without the ministry.

I am saying this out of Scriptural truth and experience. The ministry is not just important in the life of the believer. It is also essential.

God bless His hard-working servants in the vineyard.

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Criticism or Love?

English: Christians in Action, Parkview Road. ...
Often, in the Church we find judgement and judgemental people.

Humanly, it is very easy to judge, especially in a Christian community. I have observed again and again that Christians are more prone to judge than the others.

And why?

Christians know better. We have a lot more of the moral values at our disposal. We know a lot regarding the right and wrong, the high standards of acceptable ethical living. But these things, no matter how good they are, are being used by the devil to bring discord to relationships and the brethren. Our knowledge of morality is being used by Satan to our destruction.

We easily become backbiters, when we discover that some of the brethren has certain weaknesses that we do not have. Or, when we are criticized, admonished, or corrected, we become super self-protective that we deny them and criticize them in return – all because we are self-righteous. These devilish attitudes are very common and observable in the Christian community. We see seldom see mature Christians who are able to face correction and criticism in humble ways.

On the part of those who give criticisms, very few of them are correcting their brethren for the sake of love. Very, very, rare. More often they simply do it out of self-righteousness too, to exalt the selves by degrading others. Their ways of correction easily reveal the inner motives of their heart.

One good example of what I am saying can be observed during the meeting of leaders. When one leader is accused by another leader, the accused one retaliates by pointing out the weaknesses of the one who corrects him or her. There is no real acceptance or acknowledgement of the mistake, only refusal and self-protection. This example is very common. There are many others which strongly illustrate my idea.

What is happening to the Christian churches? Where is the love? It is very good to return to the exhortation of Paul to the Galatians:

 (Gal 6:1-5) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.

We should bear one another, and not fight or pull down the other. We should not think lofty of ourselves, for we are accountable ourselves to the Lord. Looking too much onto others diminishes our real examination of the self.

All Things New

"Forgiveness 3" by Carlos Latuff.
Forgiveness – an essential element in starting anew.

We do not naturally want bad endings. We do not want to be hurt, and when we do, if we could only turn back time, we would have corrected it. But for us the only sure available option is to start anew.

To begin again, however, is not that always easy. Often it is harder than we thought. Being dreamers in nature, we are always in the illusion that it would be better this time – that we are capable of doing better while exercising the least of efforts. Wrong.

As we strive to be better, there are many things that would pull us downward. The thoughts of past failures are always there. The inward weaknesses, the fleshly desires which are often undealt, would shake our determination to succeed. Noteworthy to mention – the judgement of the people around – those people who have marked out how filthy you are based from your past mistakes and sins – always play insurmountable forces to hold you back.

The only incentive then is to look upward and realized that there is Someone who is capable of ‘forgetting’ your errors and would not judge you, seeing that you are truly repentant and really try to change. Your forgiveness and shame could be deeper than the sea, but His forgiveness is even deeper than the abyss. You may have not felt real love, but His embrace is wider than the sky.

His Person and love alone are great motivations for each one of us to be hopeful that as long as He grants us to live another day, there would always be hope for genuine change.

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Prayer Request:

A God-glorifying ending of the semester.

The Epic Battle

Armor of the condottiero Roberto da Sanseverin...
Let us wear on our complete spiritual armour and engage in battles!

The Christian life is a fight. A fierce battle. Every side could be at odds, every corner could be a battleground. Of course many are your friends, but many still could act as your enemies, no matter how much you befriend them.

Do not give up! Heads on toward the battle! Put on your helmet, wear your armour and sandals, carry your shield, raise up your sword! This is another combat! An epic battle!

Strike hard! Aim best! Shoot ahead! There are many witnesses – the saints of the past are all watching, watching and expecting that every Christian would share the same victory they had.

Every unnecessary weight should be removed – excess burdens. Sin should be dealt and buried and burned. Run the race without those filth! Just run with freedom in Christ!

Yes, look unto Jesus – the Author and Perfector of everything that we have as Christians! Just look and reflect unto His Glory, and in the process be the more transformed into His blessed likeness. The more we look at Him, the more peace we gain, the greater is our focus, and increasing is our strength!

That is the way to our epic battle! That is the Christian Life! Turn away from baggage and filth, and focus on the Holy. This way, we could win this. Like the countless saints before us, we will win this too!

 

Prayer Concerns:

Family relationship and the ministry. My preaching this Sunday at Calapan Bible Church, with Acts 16:1-5 as the Text. Wisdom in studies, especially in Math, I am really weak in this subject.

Thanks!

Battle for Pleasure

John Piper (theologian)
John Piper tells us: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Everyday life is a battle for Pleasure. It is either we get satisfied in God, or in anything else.

When former pastor and writer John Piper released his book Desiring God, which aims to show the Church that the basic duty of man is to delight in God, he got numerous criticisms from fellow Christians around the world. The most prevalent teaching is that when we love and seek God, we should not be thinking of benefiting ourselves but rather do it sacrificial all for the sake of its own virtue, and for the Glory of God. But for Piper it is different. He sees Scriptures commanding us that at the center of God’s plan is ‘Glorifying Himself by getting people satisfied in Him.’

After much meditation, I agree with Piper. Truly, every moment of each day we find ourselves battling to get ourselves being happy and joyful and satisfied with whatever or whoever we find pleasurable in life. It is either we  glut  on God, or in anything else. And that ‘anything else’ may well include, money, relationships, or sinful acts.

What does the Bible really say then? Is it really wrong to have self-delight as everyday, moment-by-moment duty?

(Ps 16:11) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

This verse would simply mean that God is leading us to a true kind of life – one that is joyful in His presence.

(Phil 4:4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Here Paul exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord always.

There are still many Scriptures that could be said, but I would like to focus now on one thing: God’s determination to Glorify Himself by having people getting satisfied in Him.

Here is a key Scripture passage:

(Jer 2:1) Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

(Jer 2:11) Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.

(Jer 2:12) Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.

(Jer 2:13) For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

The Lord here is speaking, telling Israel her many sins. And on verses 11-13 He nails the point: Israel has forsaken their glory, the God of Israel to many things that does not profit them. Instead of choosing God as the only source of their satisfaction and sustenance, they have chosen other things, like other gods for their objects of pleasure.

Here it is also interesting to note that God sees sins as having pleasure other than in God, and we know that sins are all acts that try to trample on God’s Glory. Thus, Scripture Logic tells us that being satisfied in God brings Glory to God.