Women’s Ministry Archives

Are We Living Intentionally?

Whether we are old or young, we all have to deal with our own character defects. It might be our bitterness, our selfishness, or our pride. When we were young, we tried to cover up those character defects with our makeup and clothes, our natural abilities, or our personalities. As we get older, those outward things fade away. If we have not sanctified those defects in our younger years, those defects will become more pronounced and visible during our senior years.

There are days when I see my own short comings, temptations, and struggles and wonder to myself…will I make it to the end of my life more sanctified than when I started?

I look around and see other pastors’ wives and Christian leaders who gave up living the Christian life. Because of selfishness, greed, and thoughts, “I deserve better than this.” They start searching outside their marriages, families, and ministries for easier and more prosperous lives…ultimately these women lose their ministries and testimonies.

Although I have my own temptations and struggles, what a joy it is to watch older pastors’ wives and Christian leaders who have stayed faithful into their senior years. Listening to their testimonies and seeing them stay faithful to the Lord all the way to the end is such an encouragement to me.

Ladies, if we don’t live intentionally, our days become weeks, our weeks become months, our months become years, and our years become decades…then before you know it…our lives are over.

We have all watched Christian women, who over the course of their lives, fail to get more spiritual. They become more narrow, more bitter, more selfish, more whiny, more fearful, and more petty. But Praise the Lord, I’ve seen other women, who over the course of their lives, become more mature, more godly, more gracious, more dependent on the Lord and His blessing on their lives.

This morning, let’s determine to live our lives intentionally. Let’s set our eyes on Christ and press on to become more like Him.

Our prayer today should be…“Lord, by Your grace, help us to be more godly and gracious as the years go by. Help us to be the kind of women that encourage others as we grow older. We don’t want to just drift through our Christian lives. Help us live intentional about the way to the end for You. Although there are days in all of of our lives when we have things to do; places to go; people to check on, lessons to prepare, work to do, cards to send, emails and texts to answer… help us live the remainder of our years intentionally for You. Help us to become more gracious and kind to everyone all the way to the end.”

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Making Our Time and Talents Count

 Until the Lord returns, each day holds within it exciting unique opportunities for us to serve the Lord! Let me encourage you to begin each day with prayer! Take time every day to spend some time alone with God, read your Bible and pray about the activities before you.  Give God the opportunity to guide your thoughts and your actions, to align them with His Divine purposes.  When we consecrate our time and talents to the Lord, He is able to show us how to redeem the time.

Colossians 4:5: . . . walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Ephesians 5:16  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Art Demoss, the insurance executive, was a great soul-winner. When he died, hundreds of people attended his funeral. During that service, the pastor asked the audience, “If you have come to know the Lord as your Savior as a result of Art Demoss, would you please stand.” Over 500 people stood up that day at his funeral. What a testimony to a man who used his time and talents for the Lord.

Think about this! If we invest 30 minutes a day each month in the Lord’s work, we are investing 15 hours a month. If we take 15 hours times the number of years we have left to live—there is no telling what we can accomplish for the Lord!

Whatever our position may be…whether we are a homemaker, a musician, a teacher, a speaker, or a cook, God has entrusted each of us with special gifts and talents. When we commit our hearts to serve him, He is able to use our personalities, interests, and life experiences to transform us into His image. His purpose for our lives is for us to use our gifts and talents to accomplish His will while we are on this earth.

On days when you are unsure of what you should be doing…stop and pray. Allow the Lord to guide you ‘step by step’ ‘minute by minute’ throughout your day.  I guarantee you, by the end of the day as you reflect and give thanks, it will amaze you what the Lord was able to accomplish through you by being obedient to His leading.

God did not give us time and talent to just serve ourselves.  He tells us in Revelation 4:11 that He created us to bring glory to Him. He guides us and gives us discernment to know what His perfect will is for us.  For some of you, the Lord may be guiding you to learn a new language so that you can communicate your faith with more people. For others, He may be guiding you to learn new ways of organizing your lives so that you will have more time to minister.

Remember Satan is our ever-present enemy, and he wants us to get our eyes off the Lord. God’s desire for our lives is for us to grow into a deeper relationship with Him and to have a greater understanding of His ways.  It is only when we begin to understand this principle, that we will begin to experience true fulfillment, joy, and peace.

Let me encourage you to:

  • Not be weary in well doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not!’
  • Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you opportunities to bless and encourage others with your gifts and talents.
  • Be assured that a day is coming when you will rejoice and be glad for those times that you sacrificed your will for His.
  • Join me in redeeming the time before our Lord returns.
  • Proclaim as Jesus did: “nevertheless, not my will, but Thy will be done!”

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

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Calvary Love by Amy Carmichael

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; If I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting “Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?” then I know nothing of Calvary love. If I find myself taking lapses for granted, “Oh, that’s what they always do,” “Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; If I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; If I say, “Just what I expected” If a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; If I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace; If I forget the poignant word “Let love be without dissimulation” and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, If my thoughts revolve round myself, If I am so occupied with myself I rarely have “a heart at leisure from itself,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self-crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); If I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily, If I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that If they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; If I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; If I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; If I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or If it does, is never given room there; If the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; If my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, If I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my interest in the work of others is cool; If I think in terms of my own special work; If the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; If I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; If my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

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Do you find yourself always getting frustrated or angry with others? Maybe it’s a driver in traffic…or someone failed to do something that you asked him to do…or possibly you thought you were not consulted on a certain project for work or church.

When we make a plan to accomplish something, and this plan goes well, we have a sense of satisfaction because our need for a sense of control has been satisfied. When things don’t go according to our plan, we quickly become frustrated and angry.  When things happen over which we have no control, we tend to vent our frustrations verbally to those around us? Why? Because people haven’t lived up to how we tried to control them.

Why do we get frustrated and angry with those who don’t live up to our expectations? Because we want to show others how hurt we are because they haven’t followed our plans. We want to show others that they have refused our status and power. When others block our actions or refuse our permission, we get frustrated.

Frustration is a key source to all of our stress. We sometimes direct our anger inward, criticizing ourselves for lack of planning or preparation, but most of the time, we direct our frustrations to others, even those who are clearly innocent, yet just happen to be nearby.

The causes of our frustrations and anger have less to do with what happened to us than our interpretation of the causes.

Common negative thinking patterns that trigger the causes of our frustrations:

  • Over generalizing. EVERYONE disrespects me. I NEVER get the credit I deserve.”
  • Obsessing on “shoulds” and “musts.” Having a rigid view of the way things should or must be and getting frustrated when reality doesn’t line up with my vision.
  • Mind reading and jumping to conclusions. Assuming I “know” what someone else is thinking or feeling—that he or she intentionally upset me, ignored my wishes, or disrespected me.
  • When anything bad happens or something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. I blame others for every negative event that happens to me.

When I begin to feel myself getting frustrated about something, I should take a moment to think about the situation and ask myself.

Will this frustration have any impact in the framework of heaven?

Is this frustration really worth ruining the day of those around me?

Does my response to frustration display my pride and need for control?

The Lord calls tells me to:

  • Be merciful
  • Overlook the sins of others
  • Not to take revenge
  • Treat people with love and grace.

Our anger and frustrations must be overcome by the power of God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.

How Do I Deal with Everyday Frustrations and Anger?

  1. Face the real issue. “I’m not walking in the Spirit.” I must accept the fact that my frustrations and anger are really actions of my flesh. If I really want to live out God’s love in my life, I must beg Him to help me walk in the Spirit.
  • Do I really want to live as God desires for me to live?
  • Do I really want self-discipline on my life?
  • Do I really desire to love one another as God’s Words tells me to?

Galatians 5:25-26 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

  1. Deal with my frustrations and anger.
  • I must realize that my frustrations and anger will not accomplish the righteousness of God.
  • I must confess that I have been responding to my own selfish desires and have been more focused on my own will and not on God’s will and purpose.

James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.)

  1. I must die to self and live by Christ’s faith.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Although it’s difficult for me not to live according to my old “self”  life and allow Christ to live His life through me, I know it is possible. I must begin my day with a “Die to Self Prayer”.

Dear Father,
I realize this morning that to die with Christ simply means that I no longer allow my flesh to rule over my will, my thoughts, and my feelings. Through your power I  want Your Spirit to control my body, soul, and spirit. Please show me how to obey the life of Christ within me. Father, I understand that unless  self dies, I’m not able to obey the Holy Spirit.  Please, Father, help me today. I know I can’t completely eradicate my old man, but I do now commit my body, soul, and spirit to Your control. May Your will be accomplished this day. In Jesus name…

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Do You Have a Vision Statement for Your Life?

In order to reach your full potential, you must have a vision for your life, for your family, and for your ministry.

Three things to consider about having a vision

  1. Vision is looking at things through God’s prospective. You must use the Bible as your lens to view all the circumstances of your life.

Esther saw the great need put before her…her response”If I perish, I perish.”

Luke 1:37… with God nothing shall be impossible

  1. Modern-day Christians tend to be think inward. They think about their trials, their battles, their responsibilities.

First century Christians dealt with their own frailties while seeking the welfare of others.

       3. Nothing worthwhile happens by accident.

Your vision statement might be as simple as “I want to  love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbour as myself,” or  it could be, ‘I want to honor Christ in all that I say and do…no matter the cost.'”

Once you decide on your vision statement, be sure to remember it as you are interact with the lost, your spouse, other family members, your friends, your pastor, and other church members.

Get a vision! Get a plan! Act upon it! With God’s help, you can reach your fullest potential. 

Where there is no vision, the people perish…Proverbs 29:18

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Not to Be Ministered Unto

Ladies,
I’ve had this tract in my files for years. I remember reading it years ago and feeling very convicted. As I was recently preparing a devotion, I came across it again. I was thrilled when I found it on the web. I hope it is a blessing to you and you can use it as you minister.

                                        WHAT MADE YOU CROSS?
                                               J.H. HORSBURGH, M. A.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

A great fact is here stated concerning the Son of Man. The speaker is our Lord Himself, who in this, as in all matters, left us an example that we should follow in His steps.

                                                   THE INCIDENT
The incident that gave rise to His words is a sad one. Two of His disciples, James and John, wanted to be ministered unto by being granted the chief places in His glory (Mark 10:35-37). When the others heard it, they were highly indignant, for they wanted to be ministered unto by having the chief places themselves. But out of the ferment the Lord brought good. He made it an occasion to remind His disciples that they were not of the world, and that their distinguishing mark must be lowliness and readiness to serve one another.

                                          THE MASTER’S EXAMPLE
“Jesus called them unto Him” (Mark 10:42). Notice the tenderness and pathos here. He had been telling the Twelve about Himself — of the awful betrayal, the cruel sufferings and indignity, the shameful death that awaited Him at Jerusalem (Mark 10:32-34). Surely their hearts are melted? Nay, they seem unable to think of Him. They begin to quarrel among themselves as to who should be the greatest. Picture their flushed faces, their angry tones, their violent gestures! “But Jesus called them unto Him,” and gently quelled the storm. Earthly rulers, He tells them, exercise lordship over others: “but so shall it not be among you: but whosoever desires to be great among you must be your servant, and whosoever of you desires to be first must be the bondslave of all, for even the Son of Man came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45). In a word, “remember that you are My disciples. The disciple must be as his Master.”

                             “NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO”
Evidently this is something which closely concerns us all if we are Jesus’ disciples. It tells us something of what spirit we should have and what our life ought to be today and every day.

The passage tells us that the Son of Man came to minister. This is a great subject. It is not that incidentally He ministered unto a few or too many; but He came to minister. It was His set purpose.

But this wonderful passage tells us something else about the Son of Man. He “came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO.”

We are apt to slur over this, to forget it or perhaps to pass it by altogether unnoticed. The disciples of Jesus are to be “even as the Son of Man” in coming to minister. Yes, and the disciples of Jesus are to be “even as the Son of Man” in coming “NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO.”

                                      A PERSONAL TESTIMONY
If a word of personal testimony may be allowed, I should like to say this. In the ups and downs, the wear and tear of daily life, there are few passages of Scripture, which search me as this does. It convicts, rebukes, and condemns me. It is always finding me out! It seems to knock me over at every turn! And, yet, how it encourages, quiets, strengthens, comforts, and helps me!

                                  COMING TO BE MINISTERED
This coming to be ministered unto is the spirit that is in the world. It is at the bottom of disagreements in the nursery, fights in the school, quarrels among private individuals, wars among nations. And, alas! not only in the world is this spirit prevalent but in the Church also. As Christians we do not adequately realize–perhaps we hardly realize at all–how much of sin and failure, how much of vexation and discontent, how much of peevishness and irritability, how much of discord and unhappiness in our lives is due to our COMING TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, instead of coming not to be ministered unto.

Are we not too often cross, vexed, rasped, indignant? Sometimes we show it by a foolish exhibition of temper; sometimes we restrain ourselves, but there the nasty feeling is! And why? — in all probability because we have come to be ministered unto and have been disappointed.

The fact is, we are always wanting to be ministered unto by people, by circumstances, by fortune (“luck,” perhaps you call it), by the weather, by something. To be ministered unto is so natural, so necessary, so proper! We have been brought up to expect it. And if we are thwarted, as we often are, we are apt to get cross, sulky, moody, nervous, and perhaps end by making ourselves miserable, and others too.

How different it would be if, like the Son of Man, we always “came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO”! Take a few illustrations:

                                          YOU ARE SLIGHTED?
You are slighted, ignored, brushed aside. Or your employer, or employee, does not show you proper consideration. Or your neighbor does not treat you with the respect which is due to your position, your abilities, your character. You feel it very much; in fact you are quite upset about it. Why? Is it because you came to minister, and were deprived of the privilege? No, not that at all. It is because your feelings, your rights, your gifts, your position, your dignity, your importance were not recognized. YOU were not ministered unto. And you came to be ministered unto. Hence the storm!

                                             YOU ARE JEALOUS?
Or consider that most hateful thing, jealousy. What is it? Another is praised or put before you. Another does better than you. Another is more fortunate than you. The honor, the success, the money, the popularity, or the reward has gone to him. You wanted it for yourself. You came to be ministered unto. And because he has been ministered unto, and not you, you are jealous!

                                      “NOT RIGHT TO IGNORE ME”
“But it was not right,” you say, “He had no business to ignore me, to snub me, to treat me as he did. And it was most unjust; that other person ought not to have been placed over my head.” That may be perfectly true, and we make no excuse for wrong and injustice. But you are a disciple of Jesus (I am speaking only to such), and I ask you–if you had come, like your Master, “NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO but to minister,” would you be feeling so sore and angry and jealous? The trouble is, you came to be ministered unto.

                                                 NOT PRAISED?
You have been kind to someone. You have rendered him a service. It has cost you something to do it. Naturally you thought your goodness would be appreciated. And it wasn’t, at least not as much as you think it ought to have been. You expected profuse thanks, and quite a little fuss to be made over it. And your friend took it coolly.

You are disgusted. You wish you hadn’t helped him. And you feel half inclined to say in your haste you will never do anybody a kindness again! Why? You have ministered unto another; you have helped someone who was in need. Yes, but you have not been ministered unto. You wanted to be thought exceedingly good and kind and generous. That is to say, you expected to be ministered unto by the thanks and praise, and a little flattery too, perhaps, of the other. Yes, when we come to be ministered unto we do meet sometimes with severe shocks!

                                               NOT CONSULTED?
You are a person of excellent taste, sound judgment, and good common sense. And you find your advice has been ignored–perhaps it was not even asked–in a matter, too, in which you pose as an authority. You cannot understand it. You feel rubbed the wrong way. Your spirit within you is ruffled. Your equilibrium is quite disturbed. What is the trouble? Is it that you came wanting to minister to your friend, and by neglecting to take your advice he has got himself into a sad mess? Not at all. As it happens, he has managed very nicely indeed without your help. The trouble is this: you have not been acknowledged. Your reputation as an “authority” in the matter of taste or judgment has not been ministered unto. You came not to minister but to be ministered unto. And you have been disappointed!

                                   ARE YOU A PUBLIC SPEAKER?
You had been announced to speak on a special occasion. A good audience assembled, and you noticed with peculiar satisfaction that Mr. X., a well-known and influential Christian man, was present. You had a great subject, and waxed very eloquent. At the close you felt extremely pleased with yourself, and you naturally expected Mr. X. to come up at once, grasp your hand, and thank you warmly “for such an able, interesting, and moving address.”

But Mr. X. walked quietly out of the hall without a word! How crestfallen you were! The joy you had felt was extinguished like a snuffed out candle! How was this? You had had the opportunity of ministering to a number of people. But this was not quite what you came for. In your heart of hearts you wanted that speech to minister unto you. It is the old trouble again. You came to be ministered unto.

                                             ABOUT YOUR WORK–
You are a professional man, or you are a man of business. You are doing fairly well. You have enough for all your needs. But you have set your heart on great things. And your success has fallen short of your expectations. This is weighing on your mind. It is a daily trouble to you. You are feeling constantly depressed. What is really at the bottom of it? Is it that you came to minister, and you are disappointed not to be able to minister as fully as you hoped to do? No, not that. But you desire to gratify yourself more; you want to make a bigger show, to be thought more of; you covet to be rich. And your desire for these things is not gratified. You are not ministered unto!

                                                   –AND PLAY
Even our recreation is disturbed by this “coming-to-be-ministered-unto” spirit. You went in for a race, a competition, a game. You failed: you were beaten. How “horrid” you felt! To this day that feeling haunts you!

A Cambridge athlete won a race three years in succession. If he could win it the fourth year, it would be a record. And he was expected to win. But he lost! I am told that for weeks he never smiled. He wanted that race to minister to his fame. He wanted people to be able to point to him and say, “He has done what nobody else has done.” And, because he was not ministered unto, he was crushed.

“The Sorrows of the Playground!” If truthfully written, what tragic stories the book would contain!

Do you play golf? Have you ever seen, not a child, but a full-grown, well-educated man stamp wildly up and down the ground because a poor little golf ball did not minister unto his conceit by going where he desired? Have you ever heard of quite important personages being rendered so unhappy at not being ministered unto by their refractory little golf balls, that they had to give up the game?

“But,” you reply, “in our sports and competitions we are out to do our best and to win. Our aim is to be ministered unto.” Yes, of course. But, after all, it is only a game. And a disciple of Christ must not take his games too seriously. Even on the playing fields he can manifest the “came-not-to-be-ministered-unto-but-to-minister-to” spirit. When he is beaten he can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that in losing he has been the means of ministering unto the winner.

                                           CHRISTIAN SERVICE
But to return to something more serious than sport. You are engaged in Christian work. You are a Sunday school teacher, or a district visitor, or a church officer. Or perhaps you help at the Mother’s Meeting, the Band of Hope, or the Mission Room. Now you are thinking of giving up the work. Why? Has your health failed? Have you not now the time for it? Are home duties too pressing? No, none of these is the reason. Then you are not wanted? Is there no longer need of your services? Is the opportunity to minister withdrawn from you?

No, the need is as great as ever. The door of opportunity remains wide open. Then why are you giving up? Well, you are tired of the work, so you think you will drop it. You expected it would be an interest to you. It would bring you into touch with others. It would give you a position in the church. In fact, you thought you would like it. And you did like it for a time, but now you are tired of it.

Ah! We are now beginning to understand. You thought the work would minister unto you. And as long as it ministered unto you, you were willing to go on with it. Now that it no longer ministers unto you, you will give it up. But “the Son of Man came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life….” And are not you His disciple?

These are only a few illustrations. They may not be applicable to you. But think it out, and whatever may be your walk in life or your relation to your fellowmen, you will be surprised to find how much of your unrest, how many of your troubles, arise from this same cause–COMING TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, instead of coming to minister.

                                               JARS IN THE HOME
You and your friend are living together. Your mutual happiness is interrupted by little jars. You are quick, and your friend is slow. You are economical, and your friend is extravagant. You are punctual, and your friend is unpunctual. You are a very tidy person, and your friend is untidy. You like everything done in your own particular way; your friend does them any old way! So there is constant friction. But why? Is it because you cannot minister to your friend? No, indeed. It is because your love of tidiness or whatever it may be is not ministered unto.

Or perhaps you are the free and easy person, and you are annoyed because your happy-go-lucky way is not ministered unto!

Suppose you both try coming NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister and to give?

                                                   MERE TRIFLES
It is astounding what a number of little things disturb us. Your plan for the afternoon is upset. You desire a wet day; it persists in being fine. A visitor calls just when you want to go out. You are asked to sing, and your voice is husky and does not do you credit. The answer to your letter has not come. Your request is not granted. You are interrupted in the middle of an interesting book. The pen won’t write. The dress doesn’t fit. The fire won’t burn. Something is wrong with the dinner. The children are so noisy!

Sometimes everything seems wrong. There is nothing big, nothing we can lay our finger upon. But we are always coming into the world with our likes and dislikes, our whims and fancies, our wishes and hobbies, our fads and foibles; and if we are not ministered unto in these little things, we are apt to be distressed and to get put out with ourselves and with everybody else.

                                               THE HAPPY WAY
I am persuaded that the happiness of our lives depends enormously on the spirit in which we come afresh into the world each day. If we come to be ministered unto, we shall soon be fretting and inwardly fuming. But if we come NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, it will be very different. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is happier to minister than to be ministered unto. And it is far nobler: “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matt. 20:27).

                                              A WORD OF CAUTION
Now for a word of caution: Our text does not say that we are to be like Stoics; that whatever happens we are not to feel it. Annoyances, rubs, disappointments–the things that we have been talking about — -of course we feel them. (They would be of no use to us if we didn’t feel them.) But they need not distress us. Someone has said: “You cannot prevent a crow from alighting on your head, but you can prevent its building a nest in your hair.” When we come to be ministered unto, we harbor a grievance, we exaggerate it, we give way to it, and we let it build its nest and hatch its mischievous eggs.

When we come NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, we do not harbor the grievance, we give it no welcome, we pay it scant attention, we are too occupied to trouble about it. Let us be like Jesus. He was always too busy thinking of others and ministering to them, to concern Himself as to whether He was being ministered unto, or not. One sovereign remedy against touchiness is to be busy caring for your neighbor.

                                   ANOTHER WORD OF CAUTION
Again, our text does not say that we are not to be ministered unto. It does not say that we are always to be slighted, never courted: that we are never to meet with success: that no rewards and prizes are ever to come our way: that we are to go about the world looking for injustice, insults, and ill treatment. Nothing of the kind. There is no harm in being ministered unto.   The Son of Man was often ministered unto, and He appreciated it very much. We shall often be ministered unto, perhaps all the more if we do not expect it. The harm is in coming to be ministered unto instead of to minister: in wanting to be ministered unto: in seeking it, setting our heart upon it, and in being disappointed, chagrined, ruffled, and cross if we are not ministered unto.

We have lingered long talking about this failing–COMING TO BE MINISTERED UNTO–because it is so prevalent, its consequences are so sad, and chiefly because so many of us who are habitually guilty are unconscious of the fact.

                                                     SELF MUST DIE
And now for a few brief words concerning the remedy: Be well assured that at the bottom of the trouble, and in all its ramifications, is SELF. And this old enemy Self must be mortified–put to death. We must give Self no quarter. “I send you (self) my best wishes for your birthday: I hope you are dead,” wrote one. And she was right. “I seemed spoiled for everything but to see (the self in) people die,” wrote another. And she was right. SELF MUST DIE.

With this fact in view, in what a different light must we regard NOT BEING MINISTERED UNTO. Welcome disappointment! Welcome hardship! Welcome slight! Welcome thorns and pricks! These may all be turned to excellent account. To fail in getting what we want may be a piece of good fortune! To be thwarted may be so good for us! To have our wishes crossed may be a positive blessing! To be trampled upon may be a splendid thing! For every time we are not ministered unto, a fresh opportunity is given for Self to die! And the person who snubs us may well be regarded as a friend for administering to our archenemy–SELF–a stout knock on the head! SELF MUST BE MORTIFIED. For it is only as Self dies that we can live the happy and victorious life.

                                              CHRIST MUST LIVE
But it is not enough that Self dies. Something else must happen. Christ must live. Self dying–Christ living. And it is in proportion as Self dies in us that Christ can live in us. Let us not then be afraid of death–death to the Self–Life. It is only as Self dies and Christ lives in us that we shall be able to come fresh into the world each day “NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister,” and in our tiny measure to give our lives, to sacrifice OURSELVES, for the glory of our God and the good of our fellows.

                                                        A RANSOM
We have not considered at all the last and most precious part of our text: “The Son of Man came . . . to give His life a ransom for many.” (“A ransom for all”–I Tim. 2:6.) Yet, if this should catch the eye of one who is not Jesus’ disciple, this is the part for you to consider.

“The Son of Man came.” He might have stayed in His home of Glory: but He came. And He has given His life a ransom for you. Sin–your sin–has brought you into the grip of God’s Holy Law. Neither good resolutions nor amendments can undo the past. You stand condemned.

But on Calvary’s Cross Jesus has made a full satisfaction for your sins (I Pet. 2:24; I John 2:2). He has died to set you free from the penalty and power of sin. Come, then, as a sinner to God, repenting, and trusting in the atoning blood which has been shed for you, the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7). And in a moment all the past is blotted out, and you stand before the Judge justified, no longer Satan’s unhappy slave, but a blood-bought son of the Eternal God.

“Redeemed . . . with the precious blood of Christ” (I Pet. 1:18,19). Now you are called to fellowship with Him, and are privileged henceforth to become a working partner in your Heavenly Father’s business. “He ordained twelve that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth” (Mark 3:14)

“His servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face . . . and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22:3-5).

Prairie Book Room

Three Hills, Alberta, Canada

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Do You Struggle with Being a People-Pleaser?

If you are  a people-pleaser, you might need to redirect your focus to become more concerned with what pleases God than with what pleases others.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 Remember If I WANT to Keep My Focus on Pleasing God

  • Seek to know His will in each situation of your life.
  • Don’t think that you have to do everything you are asked to do…even in the church!
  • Remember when your heart’s desire is to please God, you will be able to put others’ needs and desires in a healthy perspective.
  • Learn to budget your time by prioritizing your life and determining how much time you will allot for specific people and activities.

                           Priortize by Order of Importance

Your relationship with God
Your family (marriage, children, parents)
Your employment (If you work outside the home)
Your  personal time (time alone with God, time alone with self)
Your church

God should always be number one in your priority list. The problem is that if you’re a people-pleaser, you think that being “a good Christian” means that you must please everyone. You tend to believe that you are putting God first when you say yes to every good cause, especially if it is a church-related.

How do I figure out how to budget my time commitments?

1. Recognize that God wants our families to be number one under Him. When we get over-committed to the point that it robs us of our time that we should be giving our families, it is time to say no.

2. Make sure that we budget some time for ourselves. Jesus was a person who had a vision, a purpose, and a consuming passion, yet when He needed time for Himself, He took it?

Luke 4:42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

The Lord had been up all night healing the sick and casting out demons and was exhausted. Instead of expecting His Father to give Him supernatural strength to continue, He recognized His need for rest and rejuvenation.

In order to nurture our relationships with our heavenly Father, we must budget a quiet time with Him every day. Unless we feed on His Word and allow the Holy Spirit to energize us for the work He has called us to do, we won’t be able to recognize the opportunities He sets before us. It is during our quiet times that the Holy Spirit can help us put things into perspective and guide us into making wise decisions concerning the demands others put on our time.

When God reigns at the top of our list of priorities, we can trust Him to show us where to place other people, ourselves, and all our other involvements. When our relationship with God is right, our relationships with others will fall into place.

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Follow the Disciple Who Has Been Through Suffering

Someone has said, “If you are looking for a disciple to follow, find someone who has gone through trials and suffering and has learned some difficult lessons through his experiences.

Are trials and suffering painful? Sure! At times, does it seem that that you just don’t have the strength to bear the suffering? Of course. Then you might be thinking, “If the  Lord really loves me, why would He make me go through suffering and trials?” Because He is a loving Father who loves you too much to leave you the same. He wants you to be conformed His image. When we begin to learn the lesson that God sends trials for our good and His glory, then we are ready to help and encourage others when they go through their suffering.

2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

If you are going through a trial right now, focus on your Savior and His purpose for your life and not your pain. Here is a devotion I gave a few years ago that shows why God allows trials and suffering in our lives.

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

God tells us not to think it strange when we experience trials. He will allow these trials in our lives to conform us to His image. I Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

To prepare us so that we may be able to comfort others
I remember one time I was going through a deep trial. Crying out to the Lord with thoughts of hopelessness, I prayed, “Lord, does anyone understand what I am going through?” Years later when visiting with a friend who was going through a similar trial, I began to understand this principle. “God, You allowed that trial in my life a few years ago so that I could help her today.” Leaving that visit, I offered the Lord a few silent words of gratitude. “Thank You, Father. I now see the reason that You had for me. It was for my good and for Your glory.”

II Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted.

To prepare us for future service
I love the story of Joseph. One time my husband did a series of lessons on the life of Joseph. I will never forget those lessons. My husband repeated over and over. God was with Joseph in the pit, in Potipher’s house, in prison, and then in the Palace, but Joseph never got angry or bitter. Why would God allow him to be put in prison? Think about it. He was put in Potipher’s house to learn the ways of the upper class of Egypt; He was put in the prison to learn the ways of the common men of Egypt. In the end, he was over all men in Egypt.

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

To give us a bigger view of God
Through the process of our Christian lives, we attend services and listen to many lessons and sermons. We read books. We go to special conferences and listen to various speakers. Many times we are not changed until we go through times of suffering, and we really begin to see the Lord and His purpose for our lives.

Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
To build our faith

My faith continues to grow as I look back at the ways God has answered my prayers and how He has worked in the life of our family. I will never forget the time when we started the church in Rhode Island. We were from Oklahoma, and we didn’t have to buy oil in Oklahoma to heat our home because the home were heated with natural gas. You just called the gas company and they turned on the gas.  It was not that way in Rhode Island. You had to pay for the oil when the company delivered it.

That first winter in New England was very difficult. We had to pay rent for a church building, pay rent on an apartment, buy oil for the church building, and buy oil for our apartment. We met one Sunday night in the church building, and it was so cold that you could see your breath. After services, my husband and I got on our knees and prayed, “Lord, we don’t want to leave, but people won’t come to a cold building. We need $1,000 to buy oil, or we won’t be able to stay. The next morning my husband came home from the post office singing and carrying a white envelope in his hand. In the envelope there was a white piece of folded paper with ten one hundred dollar bills in it. There was no return name or address on the envelope. Time after time, God has shown Himself mighty. God continues to build our faith with answered prayers.

Ex. 14: 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. 31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

To purify our walk
There have been many times that I felt have been so burdened down with daily duties that I served the Lord out of routine and not a true love for Him. It is usually during those times that God has to send something into my life to help purify my walk with Him. He helps me to refocus on Him and His purpose for my life.

Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

To remove any pride or boasting
I think there is a tendency in all of us at times to think too highly of ourselves. Human nature sometimes causes us to assume the worst in others and the best in ourselves. God has to send things into our lives to help remove pride or boasting so that we may be more useful to Him.

II Corin. 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

To prove our real love for the Lord to Satan
I don’t really understand it, but Satan has access to heaven and the very throne of God. (Job 1:7) Satan reminds God about all of our failures. He says, “Look at Your saints; see what hypocrites they are. Judge them!” But Praise the Lord, Jesus stands at the Father’s right hand to intercede for us.”

Ps. 17:3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

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