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Ministry Moments Blog
A devotion by Rik Danielsen, Leader Care Facilitator
But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” - Luke 10:40
At the beginning of the year I was preaching on the subject of spending time with Jesus and using the story of Jesus visiting in the home of Mary and Martha as my text. We all know the story: Jesus came into their home and sat down to teach. Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, sat at his feet and listened to his teaching. Martha, on the other hand, chose to busy herself with being the best hostess she could possibly be. Suddenly she realized her sister was not helping at all. She turned to Jesus and asked if he didn’t realize how lazy Mary was being. Then she did something that should be unthinkable to us. She told Jesus, “…tell her to help me.” We all know that Jesus didn’t tell Mary to help her sister. In fact he rebuked Martha for not joining Mary in listening to his teaching.
In the middle of that sermon it occurred to me that too many of us are like Martha, but not in the way this passage is usually taught. Too often we tell God what to do when we pray. “Lord, you need to heal my dear friend.” “Lord, you need to make sure my candidate gets elected, because the world will end if he doesn’t get elected.” “Lord, I need that new job. Please, help me get it.” (We use the word “please” just to sound polite.)
I’m confident God can handle it when we try to tell him what to do, but it’s really not the best way to talk to the King of Kings, is it? How should we pray? We should follow Jesus example of praying for the Father’s will:
“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’” (Matthew 26:39, NAS)
We must always submit our prayers to the will of the Father. He can see beyond the moment we find ourselves in and knows what will be best for everyone involved and more than that, he knows what will bring him the most glory throughout the ages.
Jesus’ followers should not tell him which direction to go. We should submit ourselves to his will and submit our prayers to his will, too.
A devotion by Michelle Clements, ABCS Vice President of Development & Communications
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. – Mark 14:3
I love this verse about the unnamed woman’s devotion to Jesus. She teaches us how to respond to Jesus with love and faith by sacrificing what was probably her most valuable and treasured possession to anoint Jesus. The alabaster container of nard, or ointment, was worth more than one year’s wages. This woman is criticized by those in the room for her extravagance, but Jesus commends her saying, And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her (Mark 14:9). She exemplifies total surrender. I once heard a preacher ask, “What’s in your alabaster jar?” Meaning, what idols are we keeping close to our hearts that are preventing us from totally surrendering our lives to Christ. It’s easy to value idols of comfort, safety, pleasure, security, self, etc. above Jesus. May we pour out our treasured possessions, talents and all we have been gifted with as a testimony of our love and faith in Jesus.
A devotion by Byron Reiner, ABCS Program Administrator & Leader Care Facilitator - Northern/Northwest Region
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
Joy, we all want it! We all want it on our terms. So, we try to get it on our terms.
These verses begin with the word “consider.” What does it mean to consider? It means to take into account, reckon, compute, calculate, take an inventory, reason, regard and think on.
What does considering allow us to do in these verses? It slows us down to consider part of the construction of the sentences, recognizing that joy is the theme. We recognize that through trials joy is produced. We come to know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. We learn that through endurance you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Suffering is the call nobody wants! We can let it produce bitterness, anguish and pain, or we can recognize that it is a necessary calling in producing joy!
A devotion by Elaine Gaston, ABCS Program Administrator - Southwest Region
Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. - Daniel 2:20-21
During the last few months we have been bombarded from both sides of the aisles telling us what we want and what we need. Everyone has an opinion and usually begins with “At the end of the day….”
“At the end of the day all America wants is…..”
“At the end of the day all the working class people need….”
“At the end of the day the average American just wants…..”
I was thinking about that “at the end of the day” comment and God reminded me of this verse in Daniel. I already know two things that will happen “at the end of the day” because He has promised them in His Word!
The first is - Heaven is waiting for me. No matter what happens here on this earth or who is in office or who is not, I have Heaven waiting for me!
Number two is - God is in charge of the devil and someday God will take care of him. I don’t have to worry about it. No matter how much havoc he stirs up here on earth in the end God will take care of him for good!
Many things in this world is uncertain but I can rest assured that I have God and “at the end of the day” that God is still in control and God is still ruler over all. He knows what is going on even when I don’t.
This verse has brought me great comfort in the past few months. I am glad that I have the same God as Daniel. He’s the one that makes seasons come and go. God is the one at the helm and “at the end of the day” I can rest totally in him.
A devotion by Roger Daniels, New Life Counseling Vice President
“’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord.” - Isaiah 1:18
As one who is trained in the art of listening . . . and who makes his living as a counselor by it, it pains me to see how much listening actually goes on, . . . or not. Mostly not.
All around me (and I don’t believe I’m imagining things) it appears that people are just shouting at each other, trying their best to either ensure they are heard, or more likely, to drown out the shouts of those with opposing viewpoints. It’s evident in the families with whom I counsel, it was present in the churches I’ve served through the years, and it’s become epidemic in cities and towns across our country.
Many years ago, the psychologist M. Scott Peck offered, “True listening, . . . is always a manifestation of love.” Several decades ago, Dietrich Bonhoffer wrote, “Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because Christians are talking when they should be listening. He who no longer listens to his brother (or sister) will soon no longer be listening to God either.”
It’s been my conviction, that as family members, church members, and even citizens of the same nation, we have much more in common than what seems to separate us. We just don’t take the time and effort to discover those things. We are too busy, I suppose, trying to talk when we could be listening.
The prophet Isaiah, in ancient Israel, received a word from God and spoke that word to his hearers. “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:18) These words, profound in the 8th century B.C., seem just as applicable in our 21st century world.
While I realize I can do little to sway this influence on the national scale, I can affect the circles in which I run. Here are some thoughts about how I can contribute:
Please join me by practicing these in your daily encounters.