Have Done With Lesser Things


This morning’s title is taken from an old hymn that speaks volumes to our modern generation.

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things;
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of Kings.
By William Pierson Merrill

So much of what we do today is trivial and insignificant in comparison to the greater works that need to be done in every community in America as well as the World.

On one occasion Jesus (with his disciples) was crossing Sea of Galilee in a boat.  He gave way to His tiredness or the lethargy of the moment and was sleeping while the disciples tended ship.  There suddenly came up one of the storms for which the Sea of Galilee is notorious with the high waves spilling over into the ship.  All hands turned to to bail out the ship.  Someone, evidently thinking that Jesus ought to share the same feverish work that they were doing, yelled at Him to wake up and help with the bailing.  Jesus replied by stopping the storm and in doing so, saying in so many words:  “I’m not a boat bailer, I’m a storm stopper!” Continue reading “Have Done With Lesser Things”

Anointing With Fresh Oil

“But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil” (Psalms 92:10  NKJ).

We should all possess a yearning for a fresh work of God.  I remember the years when everything was fresh and new.  It is very easy when one has been in the ministry for a number of years for things to become mundane, routine, and professional.  A trap that any of us can fall into is to learn a system of ministry and/or a message and content ourselves by equating that with anointing.

When God raises up a person in obedience and anointing, his first anointing is that of a servant.  It is only when one has a servant’s heart that he can be trusted with greater things.  All too often, personal zealousness and ambition will assert themselves to dominate one’s priorities–ultimately causing his heart to grow cold.  A person should constantly keep in mind that the word “ministry”, in the NT Greek, is better translated “servant”.  A servant is one cares for the needs of others. Continue reading “Anointing With Fresh Oil”

Criticism the Right Way

Criticism in its most benevolent form can be demoralizing and at its extreme, totally debilitating. I don’t know of anyone who really likes to be criticized. Whether we are right or wrong in the issue involved is not the point, the point is that to be criticized tends to leave us feeling betrayed, deflated, and misunderstood.

I am perfectly aware there is helpful criticism that should be welcomed but if we are the ones being critical we should remember that even when we are right there is a right way and a wrong way to accomplish our objective. The scripture warns us that we should not let our good be evil spoken of. Many factors should be taken into consideration before we open our mouths.

  1. Unless the person has made himself accountable to us we have little or no right to offer criticism.
  2. We should not answer questions that haven’t been asked.
  3. We should always be aware that there may be considerations which have governed the actions or speech of others of which we may be unaware.
  4. Many things of which we are critical, if left alone have a way of resolving themselves.
  5. We could be motivated by envy or jealousy instead of concern for the welfare of the person of whom we are critical.
  6. We should be aware that to criticize others makes us vulnerable to criticism in return.
  7. Any form of criticism we offer should leave others feeling good about themselves and their self-esteem intact.
  8. Will Christ be honored through what we do?

If we are the recipients of criticism, we can feel completely demoralized and defeated on the one hand or we can humble ourselves and see the hand of God even in things which seem to be completely destructive. Some thoughts that might be helpful if we find ourselves the object of criticism:

  1. We should humble ourselves knowing that even criticism delivered with ill intent can actually be a helpful message from God. Knowing that God works all things together for good, if nothing else, it might be working a much needed humility.
  2. We should earnestly search to see if there is validity to the criticism and if so make the adjustments that may be required.
  3. Look beyond the messenger and message to see if this is a message from God. Remember, God can use a donkey to deliver a message.
  4. Do not surrender the control of your life to another by taking offense. We become the slave of any one who has defeated us (2 Peter 2:19b) and when we take offense at criticism we are defeated by the one who is critical. From that moment on, we will be unable to function with complete freedom without wondering if we are pleasing our detractor.
  5. Practice the principle of overpowering evil with good (Romans 12:21) by employing the principles detailed by Jesus in Matthew 5:44: a). Bless them that curse you. b). Do good to them that hate you. c). Pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.
  6. Learn to listen with love and grace.
  7. Forgive instantly if we feel the criticism is unkind or unjust.

I trust that these observations will be helpful in your life.

Jeff

 

Beyond the Tangible

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Life consists of much more than what we can see with our human eyes. In fact, the visible is merely that which is transitory and corruptible.  The invisible world of the Father is that which is permanent and incorruptible. Continue reading “Beyond the Tangible”

Anxiety Versus Faith

I have spent many hours, days and even years laden with anxieties.  It is not an optimum way to live life.  There was a time that anxiety was such a way of life that on one occasion, when I was at peace with no anxieties, I became anxious about not being anxious, thinking something must be wrong.

Anxiety is the antithesis of faith.  When we are anxious, we are not believing and when we are believing, we are not anxious. It is that simple. Continue reading “Anxiety Versus Faith”

A Sure Foundation

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11).

We are no more secure than the foundation on which our lives are built.  All of us realize the importance of a solid foundation for any kind of structure.  Jesus referred to its significance in Luke 6:47,48:  “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like:  He is like a man who built an house, and dugged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock; and when a flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock.” 

Over the years I have ministered to countless numbers of people.  I have seen some who have faced impossible opposition and odds in their walk of obedience and who have persevered. I have seen many who floundered and turned back–some physically and others mentally and emotionally while giving the appearance of going on. Continue reading “A Sure Foundation”

Because God Loved, We Can Love

The idea of love is a highly abused concept. From ancient times to the present people have sought it, received it, given it, and abused it. One must wander through a forest of semantics and wade through a swamp of corrupted ideas and ideals to find the essence of love in any culture.

Many mistakenly think of love in the sense of such emotions as passion or ecstasy. Couples entering into marriage with no more than sensual feelings will ultimately be disillusioned as passion begins to fail.

Love has never been more aptly modeled, described or expressed than in the gift of Jesus. He, Himself, quite adequately voiced it in John 3:16 when He said: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Continue reading “Because God Loved, We Can Love”

A Faith Driven Life

On one occasion, Jesus the very penetrating and pertinent question, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8)? That question is very thought provoking, especially since the scriptures teach “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

According to 1 Corinthians 3:13, the primary concern of the Judgment Seat of Christ is “What sort or kind of works we have done while on earth.” “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work OF WHAT SORT IT IS.” It seems to me that the works that will go with us into Heaven as the basis of our rewards will be evaluated based on three primary motivations:

  • Whether they have been done exclusively for the glory of God.
  • Whether they have been based sole on obedience to the expressed commands of Jesus.
  • Whether their motivating and enabling factors have been faith.
  • Unfortunately, much of our “Christian” activity as well as that of many churches seems to be devoid of faith. The disciples once asked Jesus “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God” (John 6:28)? Jesus answered with a very straightforward reply: “This is the work of God, that ye BELIEVE ON HIM whom he hath sent” (John 6:29).

Continue reading “A Faith Driven Life”

Responding Graciously

None of us can avoid or prevent conflicting situations with others all of time. There are many times we would much rather vent our anger toward others who have been offensive than to choose responsible and Godly behavior in its stead.

The world’s philosophy is to deal with such conflicts through retaliation with an “eye for an eye” type approach. That viewpoint was what Jesus was addressing when he said:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:38-42).

Continue reading “Responding Graciously”