Service – “The Tool of Bible Study”

Last week we started our series on service with the idea that before we can effectively serve others we ourselves need to be sure that we have clean hearts before the Lord. We were reminded that God has given us some tools to use to stay close to Him so that we can be what we ought to be. The very first tool we reviewed was prayer and we know that it is the main way we have to communicate with Him. Tonight we are going to look at another tool that is somewhat different but carries the same weight of importance. So let’s jump in with both feet and wade through a discussion of  the “Study” of God’s word.

Most of the time I begin a discussion by asking a question and tonight is no different. The question is this; “Why is the continual study of God’s word so important in our walk with Him?” When we answer that question for ourselves we will truly understand why it is such a necessity. And the only real way to arrive at the answer is to begin the journey. We must begin to develop the routine or habit of study of His word on a regular basis. As we do so what we discover is that it is His way of responding back to us. Prayer normally involves us talking to Him. After giving Him thanks for a variety of things the rest of the time is spent petitioning Him. And we don’t usually wait for an answer. Here’s where Bible study comes in. This is where we begin to realize that He speaks to us through His word. As we study, the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to us what God’s wants us to know. This is Him communicating directly with us. This is where we get many answers to our prayers. He talks to us!!

Of course, I am talking about a personal time of study. It is a time that, like prayer, we are one on one with the God of the universe. Our relationship with Him deepens and our understanding increase. This is the continual study I refer to. However, there are additional avenues that we have to enhance the study of His word. It certainly can be done in the setting of listening to someone else who has studied and then prepared a lesson or sermon to share with us. However, the result is not quite the same as personal study because we have not been with God ourselves. Another way is in a group study session in which it is much like an open forum where each one can share with the others what a particular passage of scripture means to them. This is much like what we refer to as a Sunday School class when it is done properly. The leader of the group is more of a facilitator than a teacher. Again, this is where the phrase “iron sharpens iron” becomes a reality. I’m sure there are many other ways that Bible study can take place and bring about positive results. However, I want to emphasize that nothing can take the place of our personal Bible study where we can read God’s word and then meditate on what we’ve read and then let God speak to us in a very personal way.

I sincerely hope that each one of us are on that journey of continual personal study of His word. I’m convinced the more we study and read His word the greater the hunger is for more of what He has to say to us. I hope you have that I hunger and I pray that God gives me a greater hunger for Him. To God be the glory!

May God bless each of you in a special way this coming week.

David

 

 

 

Service – “The Tool of Prayer”

The summer is fast coming to a close. The kids are back in school. The football season is about to begin. Before you know it we will be having Thanksgiving dinner, celebrating Christmas and then suddenly it’s a new year. As a matter of fact we just had the last of the summer family birthday party’s and it seems like it has been the shortest summer ever.

So what is the point to all I’ve just said? Well let’s start with the fact that the Bible says our lives are much like a vapor. Here for a little while and then, poof, gone. And for me, I’m getting closer to the poof. I am reminded every day of how short life is and I find myself wondering where it went. And I’ll bet many of you wonder the same thing. So, in light of this, how should we be using the rest of the time that we have? As I have written in previous posts, I believe we should be in the business of finishing strong in our faith and we do that by our service to the Lord. And we do that by serving others.

I think we should first consider some tools we need to help us better serve and minister to others so that’s where we will begin the “Service” series. There are a number of these tools but we will only consider a few of the most important ones. Tonight we will focus on prayer.

What is prayer? One thing for sure is it much more than just a tool. Prayer is a privilege that we have been given because Jesus eliminated the need for us to have a priest. We are no longer separated by a veil and we can come into God’s presence ourselves. We can communicate directly with the Father. How awesome that is!! But we take it so lightly and use it so little. The Bible says that our effectual fervent prayers avails much. In other words, He hears our sincere and earnest prayers and in His way and according to His will takes those prayers and brings about the results that will bring glory to Him. Through the avenue of prayer we can confess our sins, known and unknown, to Him and He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We can bring our petitions to Him and He will hear. We can thank Him for what He has done in our lives.

I believe that before we can really serve others we must be clean ourselves. And I believe the tool of prayer is the answer. I know that I don’t pray enough because, in all honesty, sincere prayer is hard work. Our minds have a tendency to drift right in the middle of prayer and it is difficult to get back on track. I believe that is why the Bible says we should go into the closet to pray. Of course, that really means a place where we are not likely to be interrupted by some outside influence. But even then, the wandering mind syndrome sometimes takes over. However, I know God will honor our efforts and help prepare us to better minister to others.

Let’s all determine to be better prayer warriors and allow Him to prepare us to be better servants for Him so we can better minister to those around us.

God bless each of you this coming week.

David

Preview of “Service”

Today has been one of the longest days I’ve had in quite a while. It started early at 4:00 AM this morning when I had to be on the job to help coordinate the replacement of a failed transformer at the plant. It went down on Friday afternoon and created the necessity to drain one furnace of molten aluminum because there would be no way to keep it at the temperature necessary to remain molten. We finally restored power with a new transformer this evening at about 6:00 PM.

However, I was able to break loose this morning long enough to go to our weekly bible study and I sure needed it. My thanks to the men who attend each week and are such an encouragement to me. The phrase “iron sharpens iron” has never been more real than it has been for the last several months. I’m so blessed to have this group to help sharpen me.

I’m still working on the new series which I will simply call “Service”. This term covers a wide variety of subtopics so we will be bouncing around on a number of them over the next several weeks. But tonight I just want to kick off the discussion with what I consider to be the major point behind everything we will look at. It is based on the best example of service that we have in God’s word. When we study the short ministry of Jesus while He was here on earth as God Incarnate, we see that everything He did in the way of service was with others in mind. We understand that He came to die for us but at the same time He showed us how we should have a heart of servant-hood towards others. The point is that before we look at ways to serve, we need to keep in mind that it is not about us. First and foremost it is about Him and the fact that He is to receive all the glory. Then it is all about others. And I repeat, it is not about us. The sooner we recognize that the better we can serve Him through serving others.

I look forward to the next few weeks and hope that we all will have a greater desire to place others first as we try to follow God’s will for our lives. I believe if we keep the thought in our minds that it is not about us we can come close to understanding the real principle’s that come to light as Jesus ministered for those three short years.

I pray all of you will have a great week and that God will bless in a mighty way.

David

 

Christianity at Work

What a great day it has been. Started with a wonderful bible study in John 6 where Jesus walked on the water. Those of us who were there today learned a great truth. We can’t see Jesus but His eyes are always on us. However, the real truth is this. Just like when the disciples saw Jesus face to face after He arose from the grave and their faith became sight , there is coming a day when we also will see Him face to face and our faith will become sight. What a day that will be! 

After our bible study this morning we had the honor and privilege of visiting with a couple, Mark and Dana Butler in their home and having a time of prayer with them. Dana has been fighting a battle with cancer for some time and recent diagnosis indicates that it is spreading. Mark is a participant in the bible study when his job allows him to be there. After singing the great hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”, we gathered around Mark and Dana as they sat facing each other, laid hands on them and as the Lord led, several of us offered up intercessory prayer on their behalf. Mark then prayed for us and then Dana prayed for Mark and their children. We all were so moved with the sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit that the tears began to fall. It is so apparent that the Lord has given Dana a peace that is beyond comprehension just like His word says. I really believe that God did a great work in all of our hearts today and the words of the timely song “Because He Lives” became real today. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. My life is worth the living just because He lives. Folks, this is the real way the church should function. Lifting up each other in prayer as we help bear each other’s burdens. I’m continuously amazed at how God’s word comes to life when we decide to follow it. Thank you men for being willing to step up and do those things that are out of your comfort zone. What an encouragement you are to me!

I have been considering spending a few weeks on how we as believers can put substance to what we say we believe. The fact is that we haven’t been saved just so we can miss hell and go to heaven. There is so much more to what God has for us that we can’t possibly experience it all before He calls us home. Today’s events have convinced me that a series on ways to serve would be beneficial to all of us but I need it more than anyone else. I’ll try to be ready with the first look at this topic next week. Please pray that God will lay on my heart what He wants us to know.

I pray that God will have His hand on each of you this coming week. May He richly bless you and your families.

In His love,

David