You Must Be a Servant to Follow Him

 

Servant is Service

Reading: Exodus 17:8-19:15, Matt 22:34-23:12, Psalm 27:7-14, Proverbs 6:27-35

S – Scripture:

Matt 23:11 (NLT) “The greatest among you must be a servant.”

O – Observation:

Why is it that we don’t want to be known as a ‘servant’ in most countries? It’s seen as being one of the lowest  positions in society. Yet the Lord consistently tells us that we need to serve each other. The Word of God says that we need to be servants of God.

Here’s a definition:

servant, service The translation ‘servant’ spares the harshness of the Hebrew and Greek words for a slave, and modern translations often prefer the reality. As such, the OT ‘servant’ possessed no legal rights though he was admitted to membership of the covenant people (Gen. 17: 12) and observed its basic laws (Deut. 12: 18). (APA definition)
In the NT Jesus speaks of people as servants of God, i.e. wholly given to his service. Jesus can himself accept this role of extreme humility (Mark 10: 45). Matt. (12: 18–21) quotes the first Servant Song (Isa. 42) as a portrait of Jesus, and Paul’s words in Phil. (2: 7) seem to echo Isaiah; so Christians are also to be servants of each other (John 13: 14) because they are servants of Christ (1 Cor. 7: 22). (encyclopedia definition) 

In today’s readings in Matt 23:1-12, Jesus speaks to the crowds of people who follow him and his disciples. Jesus explains (Mt 23:that the teachers of religious law and Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.  However Jesus said, “practice and obey what they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.  He went on to say that everything these “religious” teachers did were for “show”, they want to be honored – yet verse 11 and 12 – Jesus said that the greatest are servants and those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

A – Application:

My application for todays’ scripture is simple, be humble, be a servant of Christ, don’t try to be above everyone else, and be an example of what a Christian is supposed to be by following the commands of the Lord!

P – Prayer:

Father I thank you for your love and grace. Forgive me for my sins. Help me to know and do your will. Help me to be an example to others that reflects you; even in times where the world’s view is saying the opposite of what you teach me, let me be strong in your commands. In Jesus name, amen.

(encyclopedia definition)W. R. F. BROWNING. “servant, service.” A Dictionary of the Bible. 1997. Retrieved February 03, 2010 from Encyclopedia.com:http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O94-servantservice.html

Today’s Date: February 03 , 2010

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© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

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The Have and The Have-Nots

Date: January 18, 2010

Sharing a Piece a Candy

Scripture Readings:Gen 37-38:30, Matt 12:22-45, Psalm 16:1-11, Proverbs 3:27-32

S – Scripture:

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”  – Proverbs 3:27-28 – NLT

O – Observation & Interpretation:

How many times have you seen someone holding a cardboard sign that said, “homeless” or “need work” or “hungry” – interestingly since moving to this city, I noticed mainly homeless men, will go person to person in parking lots asking for “change”.  In today’s society there’s a large concern for safety. Just watch the news and you wouldn’t want to step outside of your home. I go by instinct, if I feel led I give, if I don’t I move on.  There have been times the Holy Spirit tells you, by the urging of your spirit, go back, don’t turn your back, buy a meal or share whatever you have.

If I’m in my car and someone approaches me I try to give food if I have it, or carry McDonald gift certificates with a few dollars so they can buy a meal. I’ve learned never to give cash, if possible, and I don’t have much anyway, so if they are truly in need they would appreciate the food. All that aside, if I have something or someway to help then the bible says I should help, not send them away.

A – Application:

We have started to gather clothing to donate and I’ve found a local agency that gives donations directly to the homeless so there’s no “sales” of donations and then helping others with the money from the sales. http://www.ourm.org/ – I was listening to the radio and found the Orlando Union Rescue Mission.  When we have extra funds, I try to have a few gift cards on hand in the car to hand out. When we drive long distances we often have snacks and packaged items with us – which we can hand out. In addition, we all know times are challenging for many of us, but we usually have a little more than someone else. I’ve tried to give of my time when I don’t have money to spare and that’s been a blessing.

I wrote about the homeless child in India that had two pieces of candy and offered me one, just because he wanted to say thank you for visiting him. I think about him often and God knows that little boy has made such an impact on my life.

P – Prayer:

Father thank you for providing and blessing us with our daily needs. Thank you for the abundance that we have where we can share with others. Thank you for the internet that can teach others how to give and share your love. Amen

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What is a Yoke?

Date: January 16, 2010

Tired? Be Yoked with Jesus

Scripture Readings: Gen 32:13-34:31, Matt 11:7-30, Psalm 14:1-7, Proverbs 3:19-20

S – Scripture: Matt 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

O – Observation:

Jesus said he would give, ‘rest for the weary.’ What is weary? What is a yoke? A ‘Yoke’ means a bar of wood, constructed to unite two animals, enabling them to work the fields. http://bibleseo.com/christian-life/yoke-bible-definition-word-study/

In the various commentaries and bible dictionaries I’ve searched – figuratively, “Yoke” is a symbol of submission (see link). In these verses, Jesus is saying to take “his” yoke. If we unite with him, he will teach us. Can you imagine having a ‘yoke’ connecting yourself and Jesus, plowing fields, drawing loads, going through your daily life. As he is the knowledgeable one, the other person (like the two united animals) who helps bear our burdens. Jesus is so kind to say that his ‘yoke’ is easy, because he will help and not allow the ‘yoke’s bar’ to chaff on us, because he is right along side of us. We don’t need to carry burdens (loads) of stress, work, oppression, bondage – we can cast our cares to Jesus. We can be freed from this. I Peter 5:7 ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’

A – Application:

I have read this scripture countless times, over the years, yet I am often amazed that as I go before the Lord in my quiet time, that new wisdom is revealed. I knew what a yoke was, I had heard this passage taught by many teachers, yet today it’s the Holy Spirit teaching again, that Jesus is with me. That I can be linked up with Jesus and I don’t have to or need to, carry any burden on my own. Too often I say, “I can’t do it, it’s too much, I’m so overwhelmed.” Yet the bible clearly states I don’t need to carry burdens alone.

Today’s devotion for me is as if Jesus is telling me, “Fool! How many times do I have to tell you, stop doing things on your own? That’s why you’re tired, overwhelmed, depressed, and moody! Snap out of it!”  Well, that’s how the Spirit of God has to speak to my spirit sometimes, so that I listen, I’m a little thick skulled at times. Always thinking and thinking and thinking – how to do this, that, and whatever, yet I need to go to Jesus first. Hey, if we’re yoked together, he’s not far. And since the Word of God says, in Jesus words himself, “Come to me.. I will give you rest… take my yoke… learn from me… you will find rest for your souls… my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

These verses also remind me of:  II Corin 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?  – Is this true for marriage, friendships, work? You can look into that. I believe definitely for marriage. I believe that those we spend the most time with, have an influence on our Worldview. It’s a challenge to spend large amounts of time with people who don’t have the same biblical foundation as yourself. Think about it this way, do the people you spend time with challenge you ‘towards’ God or away from him? Most of us will need to work in the secular arena. Most of our children will need to attend public schools, vs Christian or Home School. However, we do have a choice with our thoughts and actions in our “down” time. After work, we don’t need to get a drink with the gang. After school and during breaks – do we have gossip talks, and/or do things that are questionable in God’s eyes? Seek God Mt 6:33

P – Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for being with me every step of the way. Even in times when I think I am alone, there you are, right next to me, yoked along side – saying you’re trying to guide and I’m pulling in another direction. Thank you for your patience, your forgiveness, your love and understanding. Help me to know and do your will, so that I’m not pulling in the wrong direction as I stay ‘yoked’ along with  you. Amen.

Side Notes:

Here’s an excerpt from the Definition of Yoke in the Bible:

Yoke in the Bible (NT):

  • Mt 11:28-30, Acts 15:10, 2 Cor 6:14, Phil 4:3 etc
  • Gal 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”
  • Paul in Gal 5:1 and Peter in Acts 15:10 talk about yoke of bondage that the Law brings, the yoke that no one can carry. The requirements of the Law are beyond our capacity!
  • Rom 8:2 – “Because through Christ Jesus, the law of spirit has set me free from the law of sin and death.”
  • Christ Jesus has set us free from the yoke of bondage through the law. Jesus took upon himself the yoke of Law and fulfilled it. Therefore, through him, we can be set free from the yoke of sin and death.
  • Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  • Jesus invites all who are under the yoke of Law or sin and offers the true rest for their souls.
  • We may visualize this as Jesus being the master or a farmer and us being yoked with a lighter load. But that is NOT the right picture.
  • Farmers used to yoke the young ox with the old experienced ox to train them. The old ox will take the major load and the young one will be walking along and learning from him. If you read this verses in light of this, it makes more sense.
  • What a wonderful picture, Jesus is giving to those who are exhausted, weary and burdened from carrying the load by themselves! What a comfort, peace, joy and rest it is to know that Jesus is right with us, walking with us, teaching us and strengthening us side by side!

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