Servants with a Mission

1 Corinthians 4

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Let’s take a quick dive into 1 Corinthians 4.

Right off the bat we see several really good nuggets of truth in chapter 4.  “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.  Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 4:1-2.  Those of us who have accepted Christ into our lives have been entrusted with a knowledge of the transforming power of Christ, and we must be faithful.  Just like the servant in the parable of the talents who was required to earn a profit on the money entrusted to him by his master we need to be growing the kingdom.  Also those who are believers should not view themselves as being holier and better than other people, but as servants to all with a mission.

 

For those that have not yet accepted Christ into their life there is also a message here in verse 4, which says “ My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”  A lot of people can get in trouble because they only listen to their own internal moral compass.  The problem is that compass can be bent to your own desires, and when a compass is wrong you will never find your way.  This is why we need to check our actions against God’s teachings because in the end we will not be judging ourselves, but God will judge us.  Most people do not think that they are sinning in their life, but it is once we encounter Jesus that we realize the weight of our sin and the fact that we need his blood to cover all of our sins.

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Chris Mattison

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Acts – His Witnesses at Work

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The book of Acts is one of the most exciting reads you will ever come across: action adventure, good guys, bad guys, left for dead, miracles, jail breaks, courtroom drama, angry mob, shipwreck, dramatic monologues, and some of the most fascinating characters of the early church.  The author, Luke, was the same Gentile doctor who wrote what is now the 3rd gospel – an account of Jesus’ life and ministry.  Here, in the book of Acts, his story continues with the Acts of the Apostles – the story of the early Christian church age.

 

Luke opens his account in Acts with the crucified and resurrected Jesus appearing to his disciples for 40 days, speaking about the kingdom of God (1:3) – obviously a topic near and dear to Jesus – so it should likewise be a topic we are passionate about.  Then, Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (1:8). And as he ascends into the clouds, two men in white reassure the disciples that Jesus will return the same way that he rose.  And, throughout the rest of Acts, we see what happens when Jesus’ witnesses are faithful.

 

The promised Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they were able to do many miracles and wonders, even speaking in languages that men from all parts of the world would understand the good news of Jesus and the Kingdom of God.  Most of the first half of Acts follows the disciples, particularly Peter, as they teach and preach and grow the early church.  Even amongst strong opposition the church grows, with many new believers being baptized and committing their lives, homes, finances, and families to following Jesus.  Some, like Stephen, even gave their life – as he was stoned to death for speaking the truth about Jesus, the Son of God.

 

Most of the second half of Acts tells the incredible – and true – stories of Paul.  It starts with the conversion of Saul who was persecuting Christians.  BUT – he changed and became the great apostle who went on 3 missionary journeys and wrote much of what would become the New Testament (but more on that tomorrow when we cover the 3rd Division of the NT – Paul’s Letters).

 

There are so many great passages in the book of Acts you just have to read it for yourself!  Not only are there amazing action stories, but you also get some wonderful sermon snippets and see what is most important to the early church.  You see their teachings, courage and priorities.

 

We are still waiting for that day when the clouds will part and our Lord and Savior will come down to greet his followers.  What a day that will be!  If you have read the gospels to see Jesus in action – then you are his witness.  If you have felt Jesus’ peace in the storm – then you are his witness.  May we be faithful witnesses ready for his return.

 

-Marcia Railton

Final Instructions

2nd Thessalonians 3

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This letter starts out asking for prayer that the word of the Lord spread rapidly and be honored. My favorite verse of this chapter is verse 3: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” You may go through trials, but God is always with you. In the end He will prevail; we will be with him and other believers for eternity.

The 2nd part of this chapter tells us that we need to be busy…Not busybodies.  It tells us not to be idle and to stay away from those who are. We are to never tire of doing what is right. I know that is difficult at times.  Sometimes we don’t want to wait the 20 seconds to hold the door open; we are in a hurry to do something else or we just don’t want to help.  This set of verses tell us to live according to the teachings and continue our hard work.

It has been a pleasure writing the devotionals this week. Thank you Marcia for all the work you put into this every day! I would like to close the same way Paul does in verse 16 and 18: “16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”

-Jeani Ransom

Steadfast and Faithful

Acts 25

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The trial continues in Acts Chapter 25. Festus, a new governor, has come to power and Paul is under trial again. What a political sham! Everyone knows that Paul hasn’t really done anything to deserve punishment, but the influential Jews will not give up. Paul knows that if his fate is to be determined in Jerusalem he will not survive. He has to appeal to Caesar at this point.

Surprisingly, Festus has a real handle on the situation. He sees that Paul hasn’t done anything wrong. He just disagrees with the Jews on the resurrection and about Jesus. So he hands the case off to King Agrippa. It’s a total mess of a case. Some important people will be miffed if Paul gets let go. A leader’s popularity may be at stake here. Is Paul’s life really worth that? Finally, Paul must think the trial will end soon. There has to be a decision made at some point!

I picture a pitiful-looking fella appealing to the powers that be with kind words and loving eyes. He has just spent years in prison and the accusers really have no evidence against him. There is no case. Paul remains steadfast and faithful even though things don’t look so good for him. Could we do the same?

-Melissa New

Well Done

Matthew 25

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The Parable of the Bag of Gold:

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:23).

The Parable of the Bag of Gold, in Matthew 25, tells the story of a master who left on a journey and entrusted his wealth to three servants. The first servant received five bags of gold, the second servant received two bags of gold, and the third servant received one bag of gold. The first two men went off and put their money to work, making the most of it. The third servant, however, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

The master returned later on and was pleased to find out that the first servant had accumulated five times the amount of money that was entrusted to them! Additionally, the second servant accumulated two times the amount of money that was entrusted to them!

When the third servant revealed to their master that they had nothing but the original bag of gold, the master was outraged. He called the servant wicked and lazy for burying the gold in the ground, for they practically wasted it.

 

“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them” (Matthew 25:29).

 

This parable reflects the way that God has entrusted us with different gifts, talents, abilities, and responsibilities. As my friend Mackenzie once told me “if you prove you are faithful and diligent with what God has given you, He’s going to entrust you with more and more.” How are you using that which God has entrusted you?

 

-Kayla Tullis

 

GOOD!

Psalm 100

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I chose to write about Psalm 100 because of how much we can learn from it despite its shortness. This is a great chapter to read, and it only takes a minute of your whole day. The first thing I would like to point out is that in verse four it says, “Bless his name.” This verse is talking about God and how we should give thanks to him and bless his name. Now if you’re like me you might be thinking, why should we bless God’s name? Well, God blessing us and us blessing God are not the same thing at all. God does not profit from us blessing him. It’s not like he gets stronger or better anytime someone blesses him. On the other hand, when God blesses us, we benefit from it. In this verse, it is talking more about how we should praise him.

 

Throughout the whole Psalm, it talks about how we should praise God. As a church, I believe we should be more joyful, and excited. This Psalm is a great example of how we should praise God. It tells us we should serve God with gladness, shout joyfully, enter his gates with thanksgiving, and give thanks to God.

 

Usually when we think of ‘good’ we use it to mean something between ok and great. But in this passage, it is saying that he is righteous and about how great God is. This reminds me of the popular song below:

 

God is good, all the time

And all the time, God is good.

 

This Psalm is a great one to meditate on. Here are some points from Psalm 100 that you can meditate on.

God made us

We are the sheep in his pasture

The Lord himself is God

His lovingkindness is everlasting

The Lord is good

His faithfulness continues to all generations

Throughout the whole book of Psalms, it says, “His lovingkindness is everlasting”. In fact, it says it 34 times. Of those 34 times, 26 of them are all in Psalm 136. It even says it in every single verse.

Even in this short Psalm we can take so much from it.

-Makayla Railton

God Has Us

Isaiah 43

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Sticking with TV themes, MacGyver was a sitcom from the 1980’s that was filled with intense and often times ridiculous storylines.  MacGyver worked for a research company and often got into unreal and challenging situations, often including action, fire, and explosives. Time after time, he nearly escaped death by using strange and rare objects to escape danger just in the knick of time.  Conversations after each week’s episode would often include endless  jokes as to how MacGyver could narrowly escape getting blown from a yacht filled with massive explosives while speeding directly towards a huge rock.  Surprisingly, week after week, he successfully escaped and had great ratings in the process.  

 

You could say MacGyver and the girls from “Facts of Life” have a common theme.  Maybe it is a cheesy theme from the 80’s sitcoms that we can consider in our day to day lives.  Things may feel like they are falling apart.   Our relationships with others may have bumps along the way. We may feel overwhelmed and like we are heading towards that massive rock with things exploding all around us. If this hits close to home to you, repeat over and over the thoughts in verse 2 of Isaiah 43:  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you:  and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned:  The flames will not set you ablaze.”  We may feel like things aren’t going the way we have planned, but in our reading today let’s keep in mind: God has us.  He has our lives in his hands.  He is so faithful.  He will be there through it all- we have nothing to fear. We have the best ending ahead of us if we continue to stay focused and true to his will for us.

-Emily Moyer