Rules for Serving

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.”                            Ro 12:9 NLT

When it comes to serving others, try to live by these three rules: (1) Serve sincerely. “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” God knows your heart, so be honest with yourself about your true motives in serving and sacrificing for others. If you need help in this area, turn to the Scriptures: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12 NKJV). (2) Serve silently. “When you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet…that [you] may have glory from men” (Mt 6:2 NKJV). Note the words, “do not sound a trumpet.” When people take your kindness for granted or fail to appreciate the things you do for them, don’t toot your own horn. Look to God for your reward, not people, otherwise you’ll be disappointed. “As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters…so our eyes look to the Lord our God” (Ps 123:2 NKJV). (3) Serve selectively. You’re not called to go every place, meet every need, and help every person. On two different occasions God stopped Paul from going into Asia to preach the gospel. But look what happened next: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’…immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Ac 16:9-10 NKJV). Why is this important to know? Because when God guides you, He provides for you!

Revelation 21:23 The Lamb is the light thereof.

Quietly contemplate the Lamb as the light of heaven. Light in Scripture is the emblem of joy. The joy of the saints in heaven is comprised in this: Jesus chose us, loved us, bought us, cleansed us, robed us, kept us, glorified us: we are here entirely through the Lord Jesus. Each one of these thoughts shall be to them like a cluster of the grapes of Eshcol. Light is also the cause of beauty. Nought of beauty is left when light is gone. Without light no radiance flashes from the sapphire, no peaceful ray proceedeth from the pearl; and thus all the beauty of the saints above comes from Jesus. As planets, they reflect the light of the Sun of Righteousness; they live as beams proceeding from the central orb. If He withdrew, they must die; if His glory were veiled, their glory must expire. Light is also the emblem of knowledge. In heaven our knowledge will be perfect, but the Lord Jesus Himself will be the fountain of it. Dark providences, never understood before, will then be clearly seen, and all that puzzles us now will become plain to us in the light of the Lamb. Oh! what unfoldings there will be and what glorifying of the God of love! Light also means manifestation. Light manifests. In this world it doth not yet appear what we shall be. God’s people are a hidden people, but when Christ receives His people into heaven, He will touch them with the wand of His own love, and change them into the image of His manifested glory. They were poor and wretched, but what a transformation! They were stained with sin, but one touch of His finger, and they are bright as the sun, and clear as crystal. Oh! what a manifestation! All this proceeds from the exalted Lamb. Whatever there may be of effulgent splendour, Jesus shall be the centre and soul of it all. Oh! to be present and to see Him in His own light, the King of kings, and Lord of lords!

Use It Well

If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. — Deuteronomy 7:12

The portion for this week is which means “therefore” or “heel,” from Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25, and the

When Apple first came out with the iPad and the price was quite steep, a funny video captured the greatness of the technology as well as how it could be lost on many. In the video, a woman is seen preparing a meal with her elderly father. As he chops vegetables, she asks, “Dad, how do you like the iPad that we gave you for your birthday yesterday?” The father replies, “It’s good.” At that point the viewers see that the “chopping board” is actually the iPad. As his daughter watches in utter shock, the man takes the iPad, rinses it in water, and places it inside the dishwasher!

While this quirky video definitely evokes a chuckle, it can also teach us an important lesson: The value of anything is ultimately determined by how we use it.

This week’s reading starts off: “If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them . . .” The Hebrew word used in this verse for the word “If” is eikev. This is a highly unusual choice of wording which is not lost on the Jewish sages. There are a host of commentaries on just this word, which also means “heel.” When Scripture uses an unexpected word, there is always a deeper lesson to be learned.

One explanation connects the use of the word “heel” in our verse to the first time the word is used in the Bible. In Genesis 3, after the snake had tempted Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden tree in Eden, God cursed the snake, saying in verse 15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The snake is a symbol of Satan, and in this curse, according to Jewish teaching, God was explaining that man could either use his heel to crush the head of Satan or Satan could insert his venom into man’s heel. In other words, either man will overcome Satan’s seductions, or he will succumb to them.

The sages explain that each of our limbs and organs can be a source of great strength, allowing us to accomplish great things, or they can be our Achilles’ heel, causing our downfall. The same hand that can contribute to good causes can also take what doesn’t belong to it. The same heart that can love one person unconditionally can hate another for no reason. The same legs that can carry a person to do good deeds can also take him to a place of immorality. God gave us the greatest “machine” of all – the human body – but ultimately, we determine its value by how well we use it to follow God’s Word.

The Power to Change

“I will strengthen you and help you.”                      Isa 41:10 NIV

We go to seminars and conferences looking for a painless cure by which our lives can be zapped and changed. We go on diets. We join health clubs, and our enthusiasm runs strong for about two weeks. Then we fall back into the same old rut. We don’t change. We read self-help books, but the problem with self-help books is that they tell us what to do but can’t give us the power to do it. We are told things like: ”Get rid of all your bad habits. Be positive; don’t be negative.” But how? Where do we get the power to change? The word “power” occurs fifty-seven times in the New Testament. It is used to describe the most powerful event that ever happened—the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And that resurrection power is available to change your life today. The most important thing in life is knowing Christ and experiencing the power of His resurrection. Paul writes, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Php 3:10 NIV). Again he writes, “I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead” (Eph 1:19-20 TLB). The Greek word for “power,” which is dunamis, can be translated in two ways: (1) “Dynamite,” which is an explosive force. (2) “Dynamo,” which is a constant flow of power. And in Christ, you have both. Through Him you can break the chains that bind you and the limits that constrain you, and walk victoriously in His power today.

Ephesians 1:11 Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.

Our belief in God’s wisdom supposes and necessitates that He has a settled purpose and plan in the work of salvation. What would creation have been without His design? Is there a fish in the sea, or a fowl in the air, which was left to chance for its formation? Nay, in every bone, joint, and muscle, sinew, gland, and blood-vessel, you mark the presence of a God working everything according to the design of infinite wisdom. And shall God be present in creation, ruling over all, and not in grace? Shall the new creation have the fickle genius of free will to preside over it when divine counsel rules the old creation? Look at Providence! Who knoweth not that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father? Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. God weighs the mountains of our grief in scales, and the hills of our tribulation in balances. And shall there be a God in providence and not in grace? Shall the shell be ordained by wisdom and the kernel be left to blind chance. No; He knows the end from the beginning. He sees in its appointed place, not merely the corner-stone which He has laid in fair colours, in the blood of His dear Son, but He beholds in their ordained position each of the chosen stones taken out of the quarry of nature, and polished by His grace; He sees the whole from corner to cornice, from base to roof, from foundation to pinnacle. He hath in His mind a clear knowledge of every stone which shall be laid in its prepared space, and how vast the edifice shall be, and when the top-stone shall be brought forth with shoutings of “Grace! Grace! unto it.” At the last it shall be clearly seen that in every chosen vessel of mercy, Jehovah did as He willed with His own; and that in every part of the work of grace He accomplished His purpose, and glorified His own name.