Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Abraham's Servant

...“O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham” (Genesis 24:12 NASB).

    A man we only know as Abraham’s servant was given a task to do that would affect the destiny of a family and eventually a whole nation.  God choses obscure and ordinary people to do some extraordinary things. But what qualified this servant for the task?
     The focal point of his prayer is telling.  He asks for success, but why? So that the purposes of the one he served could be realized. The measure of a servant’s heart is the willingness to forego his interests to help accomplish the purposes of those that he serves.
     The first missionary, Abraham, was told in Genesis 12:2 that he was blessed to be a blessing. I believe at least in part this servant was chosen because he had this kind of heart; one that wanted success but not as an end in itself but as a means to an end, being a blessing.  Every great man or women of God like Abraham, has servants behind them choosing their highest good, and without whom they will not be able to complete their calling.  They are the glue that holds the ministry together.
        In our service to God, what we do is not nearly as important as why we do it.  Let’s ask God for every blessing he wants to give to us, but not to spend them on our own pleasures. Invest them in those we love and serve.  We are not even told the name of this servant, but I can tell you one thing for sure, God knows it. For a servant of Christ, this is not the most important thing; it’s the only thing that counts.

Image used with permission by Microsoft

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

Friday, January 1, 2016

Our Great Need In 2016

Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding; (Proverbs 2:2 NASB)

           We as Christians value and seek insight and wisdom.  However, in 2016 our greatest need may not be more knowledge about God, but the application to our hearts of the truth we already possess.
           Christianity is not just an intellectual process.  Yes, it does start with the mind, but it must proceed to the heart. Our spiritual walk takes us along those critical eighteen inches from head knowledge to heart revelation. This explains all the twists and turns in our spiritual journey.  It has been said that those who fervently pray for Christian graces are often most afflicted.  Trials and tribulations are ways the Lord forms our godly character.  As the songwriter wrote, “dangers, toils, and snares.” God is applying truth to our lives.  
           There is a road map the Bible gives us for traveling this voyage. The scribe Ezra tells us in Ezra 7: 10 (NASB) that he studied, practiced, and then he taught. It would behoove those of us who teach the Word of God to remember that we cannot give away what we don't have. It has been said that we need to practice what we preach.  It is more correctly stated that we must practice before we preach.  We study and master the Word of God, but then in turn must allow the Word to master us.  The latter is often a longer and more difficult process.
           Of course we know that no one is perfect.  This side of glory we will never get all our ducks in a row. We never arrive, but we do need to be in process. An old Puritan saying goes like this, “You can never lead anyone heavenward unless you are climbing yourself. You don’t need to be high but you do need to be rising.”  
           So in 2016 let us follow the instruction given to us in James 1: 22 to prove ourselves as doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves.  A sick and dying world needs not only to hear a proclamation of truth but also to see a demonstration of it.  When are hearts are transformed, actions follow, and our message is validated. Complete obedience to revealed truth is what ultimately sets us free.  Making Christ known in both word and deed.

Image used with permission my Microsoft

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