The Value of One

September 22nd, 2011

Jesus' ministry was one of example – He was the ultimate precedent setter.  A precedent is an act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with future similar instances…so, in other words, an example!  Jesus was sent not only to save us, but to teach us.  One of His greatest lessons was in learning to see the value of one.  If Jesus was such a great teacher, the we have to ask ourselves, "how did He then learn?"  If you turn to John 5:19, I'll tell you how…

It says, "Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner'".  So, we see that the way Jesus learned was to go to the Father and the Father taught Him.  What was it that the Father taught Jesus?  He is our example here in the flesh, so let's see what the Word has to say.

Luke 10:27 tells us the two most important things that He learned to teach us…

  1. Love God with all of your heart.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Those are the two greatest commandments.  In fact, to love your neighbor was so important that it came right after loving God.  That just blows my mind!  Again, in John 13:34 we are commanded to love our neighbor.  John 15:13 tells us, "greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."  I used to always think that meant to die for another person, to take a bullet, jump in front of an attacker, etc.  But what it really also means is…

  • Lay down = utterly prostrate, humble, to commit, to purpose or ordain
  • Life = physical life, vitality, soul (mind, will, emotions)
  • Friends = NEIGHBORS

Why did God make this a command, not a suggestion?  Because He loved us so much.  Because each one of us is so valuable in His eyes.  He wanted us to see the value in one another – a value so precious that He gave us Jesus, just so that we can be reconciled to Him.  And Jesus, He loved us so much that He gave us His life – not just physically, but to be a guideline to the heart of the Father.

What is the heart of the Father?  In 2 Peter 3:9 it tells us that the Father desires that not any should perish…that should be our desire, too.  If we look through the Word, it continually pours forth from the Father's heart.  And, by delving into it, we can see how precious the Lord esteems us.  He sees past the exterior faults, our insecurities and He sees the hidden treasure – the seed of greatness – inside each of us.

God looks at each one of us as individuals and He sees "us".  He doesn't see our flesh, He sees inside – God looks on the heart.  It all started back with Adam – He didn't make a whole tribe to start off, He made one man…to fellowship with, to walk with, to talk with in the garden.  He planted seeds of potential within Adam to bring forth a multitude.  Consider Gideon – he was the least of his tribe and God made him into a mighty man and a mighty warrior.  Abraham was the son of an idol maker.  God turned him into the father of many nations.  Moses was a stutterer with little self confidence who grew up to become the deliverer of the children of Israel.  Elisha was a farmer, but he became the prophet of God with the double portion.  David, the youngest of his brothers, a shepherd boy, who would later become king – because God saw past the exterior to what lied within.

As Jesus sought out the heart of the Father, He then acted upon it.  We can see all throughout His ministry how he followed after God.  In John 4:21 we can see Jesus talking to the woman at the well.  In verse 27 it says, "And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman…"  Now, the point I am making is not the fact that Jesus was speaking to a woman, but the fact that Jesus didn't care what the mindsets were of the day and what the politically correct things of the day were.  He saw a woman with a need.  Their response was, "He's talking to a woman!"  Her response was, "Come see a Man who told me all things I ever did – could this be the Christ?"  That woman experienced freedom that day and it caused a revival in her whole town.

In Mark 4:35 we find another example of Christ walking in the heart of the Father – it says, "On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, 'Let us cross over to the other side.'"  He had spent the whole day teaching.  I don't know about you, but I am fried at the end of a long day.  But, Jesus had eternal purposes in His heart.  And now, here it is evening and He's saying, "come on, let's get in the boat, we're gonna cross over to the other side."  So, they got in the boat and most of us are probably familiar with what happens next…a storm began and His disciples started to fear.  They asked, "would you have us perish?"  Jesus rebuked the winds and the seas and they calmed.  In chapter five we see they've arrived on the other side intact.  It is here that they come across the madman of Gadara.  He was living in the tombs, amongst the dead bodies, cutting himself and breaking off the chains the townsmen had used to bind him.  Looking through the eyes of the Spirit, Jesus saw the value of this one man.  Jesus set him free.  He saw what the townspeople didn't.  He saw past the bondage the devil had put on him and saw the heart inside crying for freedom. 

Jesus was purposed.  He was compassionate.  He went all the way across the lake at the evening hour, after teaching all day, endured a storm, taught His disciples to walk in faith – not fear, just for the madman of Gadara.  Just to set a madman free!  But, He doesn't stop there.  They got back in the boat and went all the way across.  When they docked, Jesus was beseeched on behalf of Jairus' daughter, who had fallen ill.  "You have to come see her!"  I can imagine the sheer exhaustion He was feeling.  But, Jesus went.  Along the way, the woman with the issue of blood stops and touches the hem of His garment.  So, Jesus halts and takes the time to interact with her, to "see" her, to free her.  He then presses on.  Jesus was looking at each person – He had the time for each person.  He saw their value and they were precious in His sight.

One thing I love about Jesus is that He liked to talk to people in a way that they could understand. He didn't want to be misunderstood or be confusing.  Let's look at another passage that I truly love… 

Luke 10:30-35  “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’

This truly shouts the heart of God.  If we went back and re-read this story and saw God as the Samaritan…how He has picked us up, He has bandaged our brokenness – our broken hearts and broken dreams, and still yet continues to oversee our care.  All because we matter to Him.  Jesus Himself touched many…one life at a time.  He explains a story in Matthew 18:12-13, "if a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?  And if he should find it, assuredly I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray".

It was these teachings that had created a ripple effect, causing change in those who heard.  We can see the difference that it made in Peter when he finally caught it.  The example set by Jesus had already begun a work in Peter, breaking down mindsets, religion and tradition.  So much so, that when the Father instructed him in Acts to go to Cornelious, he was finally able to give in.  He had already become intimately acquainted with Father's heart through Jesus' example.  Cornelious mattered to God.  So much so, that He sent a Jew to the home of a Gentile to lead him in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Truth.  

God has a plan that includes every race, every nation, every tribe and tongue.  It's up to us to begin to see the value in ourselves first and then in one another.  There's a song that I love that illustrates exactly God's heart toward us.  It begins talking about all that God has made and how majestic creation is…how awesome God is.  It says, "Lord, who am I compared to Your glory?  Lord, who am I compared to Your majesty?  I am Your beloved, Your creation, and You love me as I am.  You have called me chosen, for Your kingdom, unashamed to call me Your own…I am Your beloved".  God is not ashamed to call me His beloved.  He's not ashamed that He chose me.  And, He's not ashamed of any of you – He chose you!

Years ago, my grandfather was placed in a nursing home as his health had rapidly declined.  He was there for two weeks before he passed away.  Well, while he was there, my pastor knew that my grandfather did not have a relationship with Jesus.  He would come by night after night to visit my grandfather and wait for my mom to go home…but, she kept staying late to keep pastor company during his visits.  One night, he waited long after visiting hours and when mom finally left, he snuck back inside.  Pastor tookt he time to pray with him and my grandfather accepted the Lord.  He's in heaven today.  It matters to me because that's my grandpa.  It mattered to my pastor because that was a man that he cared about and respected.  But, it mattered most to the Lord because that was His precious child that now gets to spend all of eternity with Him.  That's the most precious gift we can give to the Lord – another soul in the kingdom.

I pray that my life has an impact that goes on well after I am gone.  And, the only way I can do that is to recognize that each one of you is so valuable in the eyes of the Lord.  That in His eyes, your worth is immeasurable!  I know that if I recognize and grab a hold of that, I can begin to see past my circumstances and work alongside the Lord – and alongside each one of you – to touch the treasure that is still out there waiting to hear about Jesus.  You have gifts and talents that God has entrusted to you for His purposes.  You're worthy, Gos says so.  God has a destiny and a plan for your life, because He values you.

Be His Hands and Feet

September 11th, 2011

I saw a great blog post on today.  It was about meeting the needs of others.  I know many times I have felt so conflicted about helping those standing on the side of the road asking for help.  Jesus didn't pick and choose whom He would help – He went about healing ALL.  If we are to fulfill the great commission, we have to be willing to be uncomfortable.  I am always unsure if I should give money to these dear people – and sometimes, I just don't have it to give.  I wonder if they will spend it on things that will only ensnare them further, like alcohol or drugs. 

My dear spiritual mother, Pastor Dawn McCann, shared with me a very touching story:  she was driving in the car and passed by a woman who was begging for help.  She knew the woman would only take the money and use it to her further detriment.  Yet, the Holy Spirit impressed upon her to give her $20.  She simply asked God why, when it would only lead to ensnaring the woman.  The Lord told her, "Give her the money and tell her that I want to make her life a little bit easier today".  So, she went up to the lady and handed her the money.  The lady looked up at her and said, "You know what I am going to do with this, don't you?"  To which Pastor Dawn replied in the affirmative.  Then, Pastor Dawn asked, "Will it make your life easier today?"  The woman said yes.  Then Pastor Dawn shared with her what the Lord wanted her to say and blessed the woman. 

Jesus wants us to be His hands and feet.  But, in today's economy, how can we do that in a practical, do-able way?  What if we don't have $20 in our pocket to hand out?  Here is the wonderful suggestion from the above-mentioned site:

Take a gallon size resealable bag (i.e. Ziploc) and fill it with practical items.  Keep several stashed in your car and hand them out when you see people holding signs on the side of the road.  What should you fill it with?  Here are some great suggestions they offered, along with some from those who commented on the post:

  • lip balm
  • packages of tissues
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • comb
  • soap
  • body/baby wipes (nice if they don't have access to a sink)
  • trail mix
  • granola bars
  • crackers
  • pack of gum
  • band aids or small first aid kit (they sell for 99cents at Target – look for the travel size stuff, it will be there)
  • alcohol-free mouthwash (we don't want to give them anything that may be a snare, like products with alcohol)
  • coins (could be used to make a phone call or purchase a food item)
  • hand sanitizer
  • a warm pair of socks
  • gift card to a restaurant/coffee shop
  • mass transit cards/tokens
  • travel size/samples of lotion/sunscreen
  • scarf
  • mittens
  • samples that you receive in the mail
  • pet food samples (some homeless will feed their animals before themselves)
  • a list of your local resources (like homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc.)
  • a small Bible/devotional/tract/word of blessing/Scripture verse
  • mylar emergency blanket
  • rain poncho
  • water or juice

Pray about it and see if the Lord brings other ideas to mind.  Please feel free to leave a comment below with your ideas!  Let's be the hands and feet of Jesus!

Bezalel and Aholiab

April 3rd, 2011

Exodus 31:1-6 “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “See, I [the Lord] have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, 5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship. 6 And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:”

There are some wonderful principles to glean from this passage of Scripture! The first is that it is the Lord who calls you into ministry.

Exodus 35:30-35 “And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, 32 to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship. 34 And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work…”

The second principle here is that it is God who promotes you – you don’t promote yourself. God will tell your leadership when, how, etc. Your leaders have received wisdom and ability from the Lord to teach you. They are in position because God chose to put them there. Notice, it was Moses who announced to the children of Israel the calling to ministry of Bezalel and Aholiab…they did not tell Moses, Moses heard from God and Moses then instituted the proper order according to the Lord’s plan…not Bezalel’s plan, not Aholiab’s plan.

Exodus 36:2 Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.

Lastly, God will join those with like vision. Aholiab and Bezalel together were skilled in all matter of giftings and abilities. But, they couldn’t do it alone. God added to them…bringing up others under them to train and impart to. There were those who (#1) had wisdom from the Lord and (#2) their hearts were stirred to be a part.

What was the outcome?

Exodus 39:42-43 “According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did all the work. Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed them.”

Where there is unity, God commands the blessing! (see Psalm 133)

Divine order is truly divine.

Divine Order is Divine

April 3rd, 2011

When we participate in a ministry presentation, we are representing the Lord. It’s important to be submitted and in proper order. That means doing what your oversight says whether you agree or not…AND without murmuring in your heart. There are expectations that come with being in a ministry in front of the people.  These expectations are:

  1. Anointing (this can only come from relationship with God)
  2. Servant hood
  3. Heart for souls
  4. Heart for the hurting
  5. Heart for ministry
  6. Self-less attitude (not my will, but His)

Our own agendas are selfish and self-serving. God wants us to have His agenda. Another part of submitting to your oversight comes into play with the difference between input and opinion. Input is when the oversight is asking for your feedback…Opinion comes once a decision has been made by leadership and then opposition to that decision comes – tries to change the leadership’s mind to suit your wants. There can only be the head leading the way otherwise it brings confusion to the rest of the body.

Submitting to your leadership is about trust, knowing they are there for your protection and care. It’s not about control, but to keep order and keep things moving in order and with the flow of the vision God has laid out before you. Divine order is divine and God instituted it. *See the post about Bezalel and Aholiab for more on Divine Order


April 3rd, 2011

It is important to be a servant, especially when ministering in the forum of the Arts. A servant is not a slave. A servant is someone humble and submitted. It’s all about the right heart motive. It’s about serving, not performing. Your most important function is serving. Serving is not a hardship, it’s a joy.

Matthew 6:1-4 warns, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

When refiner’s purify metals, they stay and oversee the entire process and KNOW it is pure when they can see their own image in it. We want to allow God’s purity and holiness to rule in our lives and in our hearts. What we do for Him should be done with the purest of motives. We want God to look upon us and see His reflection in us.

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