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TO SERVE

19 Apr

Mark 10:32-45

Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time

32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to Him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” He said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock Him and spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.”

The Request of James and John

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want Me to do for you?” He asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at Your right and the other at Your left in Your glory.”

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for Me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Today’s Inspiration

Naturally, every one of us wants to be an important person. We want to produce something big and we want to be treated as an important person. We do many things in order for us to be a great person. That desire alone is not wrong indeed. We can be a great person and still bring glory to the Lord our Father in Heaven.

The problem is that sometimes we want that great things to happen by insulting other people and underestimating other people. Our hope is that when we do those things to other people, then they will consider us to be great and our desire will be achieved.

But then, Lord Jesus said differently about how men can reach their greatness. Greatness and fame will not be achieved by only physical and material possession. It turns out that the key to be great is to be a servant. Yes to be a servant and minister. This statement of Jesus has startled many people. This is because many people try to be big by underestimating and harassing many other people, but then He challenged us to humble ourselves. That is the essence of being the disciple of Christ. Without our willingness to serve, to be a servant, we are not worthy to follow Him.

We tend to have a behaviour that we want to be placed on a high place, but actually the fact is that we need to humble ourselves to the lowest position there is. Of course the struggle inside us is strong and, to be honest, we often lose in this struggle. We thought that in serving Him we must be in the church or fellowship. Our services seem to be real through problems after problems. If we indeed want to please ourselves by fulfilling our desires, that means we are still serving ourselves. If we live only to after material things, then we are serving to Mammon. And if we live to always glorify the Lord, then that means we are serving Him.

Today’s Reflection

  1. How do you achieve your greatness and fame in your life? Has it become in sync with the will of the Lord?
  2. How is the form of our ministry to the Lord and the others?

Today’s Action

Serve one another with love.

Today’s Word

43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” [Mark 10:43-44, NIV]

[Taken from Today’s Word: Recharge by Ps. Djohan Handojo]

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WHAT IS THAT TO YOU?

6 Jan

WHAT IS THAT TO YOU? by Julie Ackerman

John 21:15-22

What is that to you? You follow Me. —John 21:22

When you attend a children’s choir concert, you’re not surprised when the children look everywhere but at the director. They wiggle, squirm, and poke each other. They stand on tiptoes to search for parents in the audience. They raise their hands to wave when they see them. Oh, yes, and they occasionally sing. We smile at their antics. The behavior is cute in children. It’s not so cute when adult choir members don’t watch the conductor. Good music depends on singers who pay attention to the director so they can stay together as they sing.

Christians sometimes are like singers in a children’s choir. Instead of looking at Jesus, the great Conductor of the symphony of life, we are busy squirming or looking at each other or watching the audience.

Jesus admonished Peter for such behavior. After He told him what would be required of him, Peter pointed to John and asked, “What about him?” Jesus answered with a question: “What is that to you? You follow Me” (John 21:22).

Sometimes we are distracted by what others are doing. We think God’s plan for their life is better than His plan for ours. But God’s plan for each of us is the same: Follow Jesus. When we watch Him intently, we’ll not be distracted by God’s plan for anyone else.

My times are in my Father’s hand; How could I wish or ask for more? 

For He who has my pathway planned, will guide me till my journey’s o’er. —Fraser

EVERY CHILD OF GOD HAS A SPECIAL PLACE IN HIS PLAN.

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TIME OUT

5 Jan

TIME OUT by David C McCasland

Read: Acts 11:19-26; 13:1-3

Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. —Acts 13:3  

El Bulli restaurant, 2 hours north of Barcelona, is so popular that customers must reserve a table 6 months in advance. But noted Spanish chef Ferran Adrià decided to close the doors of his award-winning restaurant for 2 years so he and his staff could have time to think, plan, and innovate. Adrià told Hemispheres Magazine, “If we are winning all the prizes, why change? Working 15 hours a day leaves us very little time to create.” In the midst of great success, they took time out for what is most important to them.

The first-century church in Antioch experienced a time of exciting growth when “a great number believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:21). As a result, Barnabas and Saul came to teach the new believers (vv.25-26). But along with the hard work, they took time to seek the Lord through prayer and fasting (13:2-3). Through this, God revealed His plan for taking the gospel into Asia.

Few people can take 2 years off to think and plan. But all of us can build time into our schedule to seek the Lord earnestly through prayer. As we open our hearts and minds to God, He will be faithful to reveal the steps of life and service that honor Him.

There is a blessed calm at eventide that calls me from a world of toil and care;

How restful, then, to seek some quiet nook, where I can spend a little time in prayer. —Bullock

PRAYER IS AS IMPORTANT AS BREATHING.

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HELP YOURSELF

4 Jan

HELP YOURSELF by Bill Crowder

Read: Psalm 146

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God. — Psalm 146:5

I saw a television ad for a restaurant chain that made a dramatic claim. At those restaurants, the ad said you could “Help Yourself to Happiness.” Wouldn’t it be nice if a helping of potatoes or meat or pasta or dessert would be all that was needed to provide happiness? Unfortunately, no restaurant can fulfill that promise.

Happiness is an elusive thing—as we can see in almost every area of life. Our pursuit of happiness may involve food or a host of other things, but, in the end, happiness continues to escape our grasp.

Why? In large measure it’s because the things we tend to pursue do not touch the deepest needs of our hearts. Our pursuits may provide moments of enjoyment, distraction, or pleasure, but the cry of our hearts goes unheard—the cry for help and hope. That is why the psalmist points us to a better way when he says, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Ps. 146:5).

Help yourself? Yes—if we are seeking the happiness found in the Lord. It is only when we entrust ourselves to God and His care that we can find the happiness we seek. Our hope and help are found only in trusting Him.

Father, draw me to Yourself. Remind me that only in You will I know the real joy and satisfaction that my heart longs for. Help me to look beyond the surface things of life to what really matters.

THE ONE WHO PUTS GOD FIRST WILL HAVE HAPPINESS THAT LASTS.

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GETTING ALONG

3 Jan

GETTING ALONG by Joe Stowell

Read: Philippians 2:1-11

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love. —Philippians 2:2

I love being with people . . . most of the time. There is a special joy that resonates in our hearts when we are with people we enjoy. But unfortunately we are not always with those we like to be around. Sometimes people can be prickly, which may be why someone has said, “The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog!” When we don’t find joy in a relationship, we tend to blame the other person; then we excuse ourselves as we exit to be with people we like.

The apostle Paul asks us to lovingly engage with our brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, he calls all of us to be “of one accord,” to look out “for the interests of others,” and to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:2-5). Think about it. Jesus gave up His own prerogatives and privileges for us; He chose to live as a servant and paid the ultimate sacrifice that He might bring us into a joy-filled relationship with Him (see Heb. 12:2). And He did all that in spite of our prickliness (see Rom. 5:8).

So next time you are with someone who is not easy to get along with, ask Jesus to help you find a way to extend His love. In time, you might be surprised by how God can change your attitude about people.

Lord, thank You that while I was still offensive to You,

You saved me with Your sacrificial love. Give me the same courage and grace to extend to others the love that You have so graciously extended to me.

THE KEY TO GETTING ALONG WITH OTHERS IS HAVING THE MIND OF CHRIST.

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T-BALL FAITH

2 Jan

T-BALL FAITH by Randy Kilgore

Read: Luke 15:1-7

The joy of the Lord is your strength. —Nehemiah 8:10

Whoever dreamed up T-ball is a genius: Every kid on the field gets a taste of the fun and joy of the game before they taste the disappointment of striking out.

In T-ball, a baseball is placed on a rubber tee about waist-high to the 5- and 6-year-old batters. Players swing until they hit the ball and then run. On my first night as a coach, the very first batter hit the ball far into the outfield. Suddenly every player from every position ran to get the ball instead of staying where they were supposed to. When one of them reached it, there was nobody left in the infield for him to throw it to! All the players were standing together—cheering with unrestrained exuberance!

Those who have recently come to know Jesus as Savior have an unrestrained joy that is a delight to be around as well. We rejoice with them, and so do the angels in heaven! (Luke 15:7). New Christians are in love with God and excited about knowing Him and learning from His Word.

Those who’ve been Christians for a long time may get discouraged with the struggles of the Christian life and forget the joy of new-found faith. So take the opportunity to rejoice with those who’ve come to faith. God can use them to inspire you to renew your own commitment to Jesus.

Rejoice, O soul, your debt is paid, for all your sins on Christ were laid;

We’ve been redeemed, we’re justified—

And all because the Savior died. —D. DeHaan

RESTORE TO ME THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION. —PSALM 51:12

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THE GOOD LIFE

1 Jan

THE GOOD LIFE by  David H. Roper

Read: Psalm 73:21-28

It is good for me to draw near to God. — Psalm 73:28

Beauty, wealth, power, love, marriage, and pleasure are good things, but they’re not the best. The best is loving God and taking in His love—bringing Him glory and making Him our friend for life. That leads to the best possible life because it gives us satisfaction and joy now (John 10:10), and it’s what Christians are going to be doing forever.

That’s why we should make time for God and rest in His love—the love that made you and me. It is the reason for our existence and the means by which we will make the most of our lives.

I like the way the psalmist put it: “It is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works” (Ps. 73:28). In other words, the good life is drawing close to the One who loves us like no other.

And how can we “draw close” to Him? Here’s a practice I began many years ago: Take a few minutes every morning to read some verses from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and note what Jesus said or did. After all, He came to show us what God is like (Heb. 1:1-3). Put yourself in the story—in the place of the leper He healed with His loving touch, for example (Mark 1:40-45). Think about how much He loves you and then thank Him!

Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love. —Crosby

The wonder of it all— just to think that Jesus loves me!

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