Wednesday, December 24, 2014

To The Servants Of This World

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
(Matthew 25:21a NKJV)

         In 2015 I believe that the servants in His church are on the heart of the Father.  God’s servant people have always been the force that turns the wheels of the church.  I speak of the people who are most deserving of our recognition but seek it the least.  They are God’s under-recognized remnant that glorifies the Father by serving His people.  They may do this by cleaning pews or preaching in pulpits.  It is not about a position but an attitude of heart.  Whether they are followers or ones who are followed, they have one thing in common; they do what they do to glorify their Lord and not themselves.
         A church without servants is like a carriage without a horse, its not going anywhere.  They are like the salt in our food.  We can’t see it but we know when it is lacking.  The Apostle Paul once described in Ephesians 4:16 how the Body of Christ is held together by every joint (or ligament).  A ligament is not very visible but without it the muscle becomes absolutely useless.  You servants in the church that give of yourselves to help make others successful are the glue that holds things together.
         It seems to me that there is one central test for all true servants of Christ, and that is being willing to do a great deal of the work and yet get little credit for its outcome.  If you seem to find yourself in this situation a lot, listen to the following words.
         In that great stage we call life, your curtain calls may be few and far between.  And it may always seem like you get the understudy roll.  But if you play your roll for Him and His glory, not for what you can get but what you can give.  Don’t be surprised as you cross that great river in that final great encore, when you get a standing ovation from the audience of three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, backed up in perfect harmony by the host of heaven.  God has never missed one of your acts of selfless service and He never, ever forgets.
         My dear servant friends, you must keep an eternal rather than a temporal perspective. Keep your eye on the prize. One day you will stand before the Lord Jesus and He will look into your eyes and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  At that moment when Jesus plants that first kiss on the back of your neck, it will make it all worthwhile.
         Remember, it’s not the height, or even the breath of your ministry that impresses God.  It’s the depth of your love for Him that motivates you to serve that catches the eye of the Father.  There is no greater calling than a servant of Christ.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To Know Him Is To Love Him

We love Him because He first loved us. (I John 4:19)

         There is a song that was written in the late 50’s by Phil Spector called “To Know Him Is To Love Him.”  The title is taken from the words on his father’s tombstone.  One verse goes;

                    To know, know, know him
                    Is to love, love, love him
                    And I do, I do, I do.
You baby boomers reading this can probably hear the tune going through your heads.  Spector wrote it as a romantic melody, but it can just as well speak of God.
         Knowledge of the Holy One always leads to a thirst for more of Him. There is an inverse relationship between physical and spiritual food.  The more food we eat the less hungry we become.  The more spiritual food (God and His Word) of which we partake, the more desire we have for Him.  An appetite for the things of God is the byproduct of a love relationship with Him.
         The commentator Matthew Henry once said “Thinking that one has enough grace only proves that one does not, ........ because wherever there is true grace there is a desire for more grace.”  When we truly find God it activates an eternal quest for Him.  One small glimmer of revelation of the ultimate being in the universe can change us for a whole lifetime, not to mention the direction of our eternal abode.  It will cause you to sing, to know Him is to love Him, and I do.

Friday, July 25, 2014


But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (I Timothy 1:5 NASB)

         We end our letters of correspondence with the salutation, “sincerely.”
We want to end our communication with a tone of cordiality and authenticity.  What does the Bible mean when it talks about a sincere faith?  I think we might be a bit surprised when we examine the biblical meaning of the word sincere.

Without Wax
         I once heard Dr. David Jeremiah do a word study on sincere in this passage.  The word comes from two Greek words, sine and cera, which together mean “without wax.”  A stone sculpture of that day, who might not be real honest, would accidently crack a statue and fill in the crack with bee’s wax.
He would carefully paint over the repaired fracture and sell it with the flaw unbeknownst to the buyer.  People who knew of this practice would ask if the statue was sincere? Meaning without wax or with no defects.
         How does this meaning of a sincere faith relate to our lives today as Christians?  The issue is not really about us being perfect (We are all marred creations.), but are we covering up our imperfections.  Jesus, though not condoning their sin, did not condemn the prostitutes and tax collectors who were pretty flawed people. The Pharisees, on the other hand, took some pretty harsh criticism from the Lord. Why? These religious leaders were always putting wax on their cracks.  Outwardly they appeared righteous but inwardly their hearts were evil.  They were not sincere people.

A Sincere Faith
         In relation to your Christian walk, how does the salutation of your life read?  Do you mask over who you really are with religious expertise?  If you do you are only portraying your own righteousness, which the Bible calls “filthy rags.”  Or are you open and honest about your inadequacies and trusting God for His mercy and grace to change? The latter will cause the righteousness of Christ to shine forth from you life.  Which do you chose, sincerely yours, or a life sincerely about Christ?
 Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Discouragement: A Tool of the Destroyer

 Their king is the angel from the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon—the Destroyer. (Revelation 9:11 NLT).

            The Apostle Paul labels Satan as the Destroyer.  His purpose is to kill and destroy God’s people.  One of his most effective tools he has to accomplish his evil plan is discouragement. I once heard Dr. David Jeremiah tell a story about Satan’s use of discouragement.  The following is a shortened version of that story.
            One day Satan decided to go out of business.  (Don’t we wish?)  He puts all his tools on display to sell.  He lines up, malice and hatred, jealousy, greed, envy and many more.  On the far end of the display is a wedge-shaped tool that did not look real menacing called discouragement.   Of all of the tools this one carried the highest price tag.  Some one asked Satan, “Why is this tool priced so much higher than all the rest?”  Satan replies, “Because with it I can pry open and get into people’s consciousness which I can’t do with any of the other tools.  And once discouragement takes hold, all of the other tools work just fine.”

Oh no, will it ever end?
            Satan’s work is no fictional story like the one above.  His schemes are active in the lives of all believers.  Based on my experience, the following is a general scenario of how the Evil One tries to use discouragement in our lives.
            Things are happening.  Accusations are starting to arise.  I am accused of doing things I haven’t really done.  When there is some truth to what people are saying, it is blown all out of proportion.  When I confess my sins, Satan says, “you think you are a Christian.  How could you do something like that?  You are a phony.” 
And he tries to seal his case by quoting scripture.  Taking it out of context, of course.
            But my shield of faith is up and the Word of God is in my mouth, and his fiery tarts are not getting into my heart.  Satan thinks to himself, I have one more strategy. I will just outlast him.  So, he starts a series of hit-and-run attacks; just enough to keep me annoyed and frustrated.  This goes on and on and on.  Until I grow weary and start to think, will this ever end? I begin to forsake the regular reading of His Word.  The shield of faith starts to come down and the Word of God is no longer active on my lips.  Satan seizes on the opportunity and launches a full-on frontal attack of accusations and lies.  My defenses are down and I am open to his attack.  The Devil is just about to take me out, and I cry out, “Lord help!” 
            I open my Bible and God leads me to a scripture like, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” And I start to ponder and meditate, Greater is He (capital H) that is in you than he (small h) that is in the world.           Each time I run this truth through my mind, it starts to seep down into my heart, and my emotions start to arise.  It reverberates louder and louder as God’s Spirit is bringing the rhema out of the logos.  I get revelation; you are in a battle, Ken.  The shield of faith starts to arise again and the two-edged sword comes out of my mouth.  I address Lucifer directly, Satan, “greater is He, you may be greater than me, but you are not greater than my God who lives in me.”   And furthermore, it is written, Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 NASB).  “So Satan, obey the Word of God!  And you know what, he does. Not because of my great faith or authority, but simply because God is faithful to His Word.
The Devil is evil but he is not stupid.  He knows that if our shield of faith is up and the Word of God is in our hearts and mouths, he’s not taking any territory.  So he leaves, yes to fight another day, but in this skirmish, he’s a defeated foe.  Isaiah 54:7 says, No weapon that is formed against you will prosper.  God’s Word is true.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing