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Archive for October, 2013

It’s good when people understand that we’re trying to help them because we want to help them.

It’s not good when they think our motives are primarily to use them to help ourselves.

I suppose that we’ve all had plenty of experience with both sets of motives.

Perhaps even on the serving side and not just the receiving side.

Yes, it’s a temptation at times to help somebody because you want something back from them, whether it be a good word for you when you’re looking for a job, a reciprocated compliment about physical attractiveness or even some physical affection.

But we all know that this “contract” mentality toward intercession on behalf of others is not Christlike.

It’s much better when we have a covenant mentality that focuses on doing good for others, regardless of whether any good comes back to us.

It’s the Golden Rule thing, you know.

Doing for others because they have need for intercessory help of one form or another.

It’s the pattern of Christ.

It should be our pattern.

I was compelled to share these words today because of what I read in I Thessalonians 2:5-6…

God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.”

The Apostle Paul didn’t enter the ministry because he needed a paycheck or needed friends or needed something to keep him busy. He had all that while still working as a bounty hunter for the Jewish religious establishment.

What he didn’t have in those days was inner peace.

When he accepted Christ as Lord, he found the inner peace he so desperately desired, although his life became what could only be described as random persecution and chaos for the next 30 years.

If he were after money and human praise, he wouldn’t have been a travelling evangelist.

But Paul wanted to help people.

In his mind, life was about them, not him.

Life for Paul was about connecting people to Christ.

Even when troubles came in waves.

Let’s do our best to show others that we’re helping them to help them.

Our influence will be more clearly directed toward Christ that way.

The world already has enough “users” who help others in other to help themselves.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I’ve been needing to get to the grocery store for some time but my schedule has just not made it easy.

For I know that when Lori or I make such a trip, it’s not going to be quick.

We’ve put it off for awhile now and, as you know, stocking up on things in a way that optimizes frugality is not speedy.

I read another shopping list of sorts this morning, however, that was far more uplifting.

It’s a list of highly desirable blessings that the Apostle Paul had on his prayer shopping list on behalf of the Christians at Colossae.

Paul didn’t fight the crowded aisles and long lines at the checkout register, though.

He went straight to the Master of the Universe.

We can and should do the same.

Here is his list extracted from Colossians 1:9-12:

Paul asked God:

  • To give the Colossians complete knowledge of His will
  • To give them spiritual wisdom and understanding.
  • To strengthen them with all His glorious power that they have all the endurance and patience they need.
  • To fill them with joy with words of thanks always flowing to the Father.

The desired result of Paul’s persistent prayers was that the Colossians believers would always honor and please the Lord with their lives producing every kind of good fruit as they grew in faith and in their personal relationship and knowledge of God.

This is a shopping list that I need.

Both to pray for others and for others to pray for me.

Do I have enough of all the above?

No.

Have I prayed enough for the above on behalf of others?

No.

Please join me in better following Paul’s shopping list.

We’ll have a better world, better churches, better families, better friendships and better workplaces as a result.

And God will be honored more in a way that He deserves and desires.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The great sculptures of ancient Greece and Rome weren’t made with a computerized carving machine.

Instead, there was a chisel and there was a hammer.

And there was a vision and a passion to move that sculpture from the domain of the heart into the domain of the real.

Vision. Passion. Tools.

Simple tools.

God can do amazing things with simple tools.

We just have to allow Him to shape us so that we might shape the abilities and opportunities that He provides.

What simple vision for helping others has the Lord been placing into your heart lately?

A vision that can bring good to others as you allow the passion for people to ignite within you?

I was reading this morning from the first chapter of Jeremiah and saw this dialogue between that prophet and the Lord.

“The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.

“Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!

“The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 1:4-9)

Jeremiah perhaps thought initially that his effectiveness for the Lord in talking to stubborn, spiritually rebellious people would be based on how charming or intimidating he might be to others.

Because we’re people who so often live “by sight and not by faith,” we can understand why he thought this way.

But God didn’t want Jeremiah sharing his personal disapprovals but instead God’s call to holiness and faith-based hope.

Just do what God says, just say what God inspires, just go where God leads.

And if people don’t like it and start to attack, God will protect.

It’s a protocal for godliness that still applies.

Listen, we can always find an excuse for not talking with co-workers about faith or for not investing time in helping a difficult neighbor or for not forgiving a difficult relative or for not volunteering at church.

We can always say that we’re too young or too old or too poor or too scared or too busy or too far away or too whatever.

But God is none of these things.

He wouldn’t stir our hearts to do something if He believed we couldn’t do it with His help.

I pray that we all have what I call the “Moses moment” when we’ve exhausted our excuses and finally admit we just want God to send somebody else to do what He’s calling us to do.

That’s when reluctance is unveiled to us as subtle rebellion and we’re brought face to face with our need to trust that God is bigger than our fears.

Let’s get to the point of Jeremiah’s acceptance when he said, “Here am I. Send me.”

Please embrace the vision God is placing into your heart about helping that disheartened co-worker or neighbor or church member.

Please accept that call to share grace, not scorn, toward that relative who boiled your blood.

These are very simple steps that, when fueled by passion and applied with the principles of scripture, can carve beautiful pictures into hearts that have been as stone.

As always, I love you
Martin

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