Serve Continually

Sun, 19 May 2019

Has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you? Daniel 6:20

When educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom, researching how to develop talent in young people, examined the childhoods of 120 elite performers—athletes, artists, scholars—he found that all of them had one thing in common: they had practiced intensively for long periods of time.

Bloom's research suggests that growing in any area of our lives requires discipline. In our walk with God, too, cultivating the spiritual discipline of regularly spending time with Him is one way we can grow in our trust in Him. Daniel is a good example of someone who prioritized a disciplined walk with God. As a young person, Daniel started making careful and wise decisions (1:8). He also was committed to praying regularly, "giving thanks to God" (6:10). His frequent seeking of God resulted in a life in which his faith was easily recognized by those around him. In fact, King Darius described Daniel as a "servant of the living God" (v. 20) and twice described him as a person who served God "continually" (vv. 16, 20).

Like Daniel, we desperately need God. How good to know that God works in us so that we long to spend time with Him! (Philippians 2:13). So, let us come every day before God, trusting that our time with Him will result in a love that will overflow more and more and in a growing knowledge and understanding of our Saviour.

Father, I thank You for the privilege of serving You. Help me to spend regular time with You to grow in my knowledge of You.

Someone Who Leads

Sat, 11 May 2019

As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you. 2 Kings 2:6

Who do you think of when you hear the word mentor? For me, it's Pastor Rich. He saw my potential and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. He modelled how to lead by serving in humility and love. As a result, I am now serving God by mentoring others. The prophet Elijah played a critical role in Elisha's growth as a leader. Elijah found him ploughing a field and invited him to be his protégé after God told him to anoint Elisha as his successor (1 Kings 19:16, 19).

The young mentee watched his mentor perform incredible miracles and obey God no matter what. God used Elijah to prepare Elisha for a lifetime of ministry. Toward the end of Elijah's life, Elisha had the opportunity to leave. Instead, he chose to renew his commitment to his mentor. Three times Elijah offered to release Elisha from his duties, yet each time he refused, saying, "As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you" (2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6).

Because of Elisha's faithfulness, he too was used by God in extraordinary ways. We all need someone who models what it means to follow Jesus. May God give us godly men and women who help us grow spiritually. And may we too, by the power of His Spirit, invest our lives in others. Who are mentors that are currently building into you or who have built into your life? Why is it vital for us to mentor others in Jesus?

Father God, thank You for placing people in our lives to challenge and encourage us. Help us to do the same for others.

Through The Cross

Sat, 04 May 2019

Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

My co-worker Tom keeps an 8" by 12" glass cross on his desk. His friend Phil, who like Tom is a cancer survivor, gave it to him to help him look at everything "through the cross." The glass cross is a constant reminder of God's love and good purposes for him. That's a challenging idea for all believers in Jesus, especially during difficult times. It's much easier to focus on our problems than on God's love. The apostle Paul's life was certainly an example of having a cross-shaped perspective.

He described himself in times of suffering as being "persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:9). He believed that in the hard times, God is at work, "achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen" (vv. 17–18). To "fix our eyes . . . on what is unseen" doesn't mean we minimize the problems.

Paul Barnett, in his commentary on this passage, explains, "There is to be confidence, based on the certainty of God's purposes for [us] ... On the other hand, there is the sober recognition that we groan with hope mingled with pain. Jesus gave His life for us. His love is deep and sacrificial. As we look at life "through the cross," we see His love and faithfulness. And our trust in Him grows. Loving Lord, I want to follow You completely, whether in times of drought or abundance. Help me turn to You for help and hope.

Father teach us who You are. Increase our trust in You. Fill our minds with Your perspective.

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