(This is a continuation of the message given last February 26, 2020 to the congregation of Ikthus East – Bacolod City during the Midweek Service, based on Philippians 2:1-11.)
2. HE HUMBLED HIMSELF/WHAT HE BECAME: NOTHING.
It is significant that nothing, becoming human, and taking the form of a servant seem to function as interchangeable, synonymous terms in this passage. To be human – a creature of God – is to be a servant. That is our rightful position in the scheme of things!
We have a tendency to think highly of ourselves, but actually what are we compared to the vastness of the heavens and the greatness of God?
Continue reading “Humble Service (part 2)”
A couple of Saturdays ago, I gave a devotional on 1 John 3:19-24 to the Men’s group of my local church. Here’s the gist of it.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him…” (1 John 3:18, 19 ESV)
One of the benefits of living a life of love – practicing the truth instead of just talking about it – is that we reassure our hearts that we really really belong to God, that we’re really Christians. But if we don’t live a life of truth and love, a sense of condemnation comes over us: our hearts condemn us and our spiritual life suffers. Continue reading “Condemnation and Confidence”
“Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.”
Greed has no bounds. The danger of desiring to be rich is that there might never come a time when you’ll feel rich enough. And so you’ll be forever toiling with all the anxiety and stress such toil entails. Not to mention that being obsessed with becoming rich can destroy your relationships and your health. “Keep your life free from love of money,” because greed can consume you. It can even kill you.
So know when to stop. Agur (see Proverbs 30) had discernment; he prayed, “Give me neither poverty or riches.” Paul too had discernment; he said, “Having food and clothing, let us be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8)
Do we exercise discernment when it comes to acquiring wealth? Do we know when to stop?
Lord, help me not to be greedy for wealth. Help me know when to stop. Amen.
“The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” (1 Kings 17)
The Lord provides!
He made the brook at Cherith from which Elijah drank, and he commanded the ravens to feed him day and night.
And when the brook dried up he commanded a widow – of all people! – whose food supplies were about to run out, to feed him.
And even in the worst of times, a severe drought, “The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.”
Why, then, do I worry?
Forgive me, Lord, for the many times I’ve worried about provisions in life. Help me to trust that you will provide for all our needs even in the worst of times. Amen.
“On the other hand, what should be the exercise and employment of a Christian? It is even this, whatever he be, or whatever his occupation be among men, he drives a higher trade with heaven, that should take him up. The world gets but his spare hours. He is upon a more noble and high project. He aspires after a kingdom. His heart is above where Christ is, and where his treasure is. And these things exhaust his affections and pains.”
(Hugh Binning’s The Christian’s Primary Obligation)
Interesting thought. Not the kind you hear from this world’s self-help gurus or productivity experts. Not a recipe for worldly success.
But come to think of it, using Paul as an example, although he was a tent-maker there is no evidence he was the best in the world at that (although one may safely assume he did a decent job). But he was certainly the greatest apostle of them all.
And that’s because his heart wasn’t intent on tents (pun intended). Sure, he made tents – but only for the sake of the gospel. The gospel was what his heart was really intent on. And that’s what exhausted his affections and pains.
“Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the Lord all his days And he brought into the house of the Lord the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels.” (1 Kings 15:14-15, ESV)
God has given us a lot of gifts and talents. But do we offer these back to him? Do we bring these to his house? And if we don’t, why not? You have a wonderful singing voice. Do you sing for him? He has given you wealth way beyond what the average person earns. But do you financially support the ministries of your local church? Again, why not? In Asa’s case, because his heart was true to the Lord he brought gifts to the Lord’s house. That’s the key: the heart. As Jesus once said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Lord, please make my heart true to you, that I may bring gifts to your house.
Here’s the outline of the devotional I shared a while ago with the Men’s group of Ikthus East church, Bacolod City. It’s part of the series of Bible studies I’m doing on 1st John, particularly the three stages of the Christian life. Be blessed!
1 John 2:12-14 KJV
 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.  I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Continue reading “Young Men”
During my quiet time this morning I read Proverbs chapter 10. I noticed it had a number of things to say about the speech of the righteous.
– The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.
– The tongue of the righteous is choice silver.
– The lips of the righteous feed many.
– The mouth of the righteous brings worth wisdom.
– The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable.
I assume, using New Testament lenses, that the righteous refers to people who by grace have clothed themselves with the righteousness of Jesus Christ through faith in him, who live according to his will, and who are filled with his wisdom. This kind of people are in a position to be a blessing to others through their speech.
What comes out of their mouth? Life-giving wisdom. Not only practical wisdom pertaining to the affairs of this life, but more importantly gospel wisdom, the wisdom that leads to eternal life.
Their speech is also attractive, able to delight those who listen to them. What they have to say is precious and even rare because of the spiritual insight they possess.
But they don’t just blurt out anything that comes to their mind. They weigh and they consider; they choose their words carefully; they restrain their lips. They speak the truth, but they do so in love, and at the right time and at the right place.
And finally they share their knowledge. They don’t hoard it and just keep it to themselves. For the only way they will be able to feed many with their lips is if they share the wisdom God has given them. And they do this not only as a matter of stewardship but because they care for people. They want others to be blessed.
So go and be a blessing! Share the wisdom you’ve been given.