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Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
– Acts 13:1-3 (NKJV)

Our assignments come from the Almighty.  He can set us apart for the work that He alone calls us to do in His name and for His sake.  He can single us out and call us out “for the special work”  that He has for us to do (v. 2, New Living Translation).  Even when there are other teachers, preachers, evangelists and prophets in the vicinity, He can still call for us to be separated from everyone else.

Such a calling is a heavy responsibility.  It requires us to act on it once we have accepted it. 

Look at Paul and Barnabas.  Look at the work that they did immediately folowing being set apart for this assignment of “special work.” They took action with their assignment.  They had all of the confirmation that they needed to go.  They had gone through all of the preparations that you could imagine necessary, not possible.  Fasting, praying and the laying on of hands were all part of what took place prior to sending them out.

Imagine what you would do if and when the Lord calls you out.  Try to picture your response to the Lord picking you out for “special work.” Go on and respond with some action.

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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. – Proverbs 24:10 (KJV)

We need to be on fire and remain on fire in the work of this ministry.  When we lose our fire, we burn out and begin to flame out as we eventually end up running on fumes.  That should not be the case for us since we have the Helper, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, with us to help us and guide us.  Yet, we still experience such times.
We need to see how our downcast countenance can impact others, especially when we stand before the congregation or sit at the board table.  We need to understand that we have to do more than simple show up and serve.  We need to be mindful of our affect as we serve the Lord day by day.

Let us not look for a reward here on this earth.  The pay will never match up to the sacrifice.  The benefit package will never equate to the blessings that you have to bestow upon others and to witness with your own eyes.  You will never get the kudos or respect that you deserve, but you have a reward awaiting you in heaven that is great and bountiful.  Just hold on and don’t get weary and worn out.
 
“Set a man on fire and people will come from miles to watch him burn.” –John Wesley.

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Do the Work

 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.- James 1:22 (ESV)

“I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” – Hudson Taylor

 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.- 2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV)

Simply put: we have work to do.  In fact, that really is an understatement.  We have plenty of work to do.  The Lord Jesus shared that the harvest is plentiful and the laborers (workers) are few.  We have plenty of work without a surplus of workers to match up with the work.

I am oftentimes saddened when I attend a meeting of people of faith and there is constant talk of what we do not have or who is not there.  It appears that the stated and printed agenda shifts somewhat to a mindset that literally undermine the work at hand.  We may only have so many people with so much work, but I have enough faith to trust God ho has all power. 

 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”- Matthew 9:38 (ESV)

Perhaps, we can take the words of Jesus literally and not see what the Lord did not say for us to do.  He said for us to pray.  He did not say for us to stop all of our work, pray for more workers, then sit around and do nothing until they arrive and are approved and appointed.  That is not what Jesus said for us to do.  He never said for us to stop our work because we have prayed for reinforcements.  He said pray, but He never said for us to stop working.

Like I said, we have some serious work ahead of us.  We have some work to do internally and externally.  We have some work to do inside of the church.  We have some work to do outside of the church.  We have enough work to do all the way up to the Day of the Lord.  Let’s not waste a whole bunch of time on matters that are totally out of our hands and out of our control.  Let’s busy with what is at hand and stay in prayer for what (or who) the Lord has yet to send our way as we continue to do our work.

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Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘My brothers and those of my father’s house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. And the men are shepherds, for their occupation has been to feed livestock; and they have brought their flocks, their herds, and all that they have.’ So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ that you shall say, ‘Your servants’ occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers,’ that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”- Genesis 46:31-34 (NKJV)

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

The Jungle (Enriched Classics)The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin Classics)Joseph did something with his family that many in Western culture may not be able to relate in recent generations.  Too many of us may be so far removed from our families being immigrants that we have no real understanding of what it took to be outsiders in a new land.  Upton Sinclair conveyed the concept in his classic The Jungle  and John Steinbeck shared a similar story in The Grapes of WrathImmigrants have long come into lands of opportunity, willing to do the work that others regarded as below them.

 
Joseph Advised His Family: He shared with them and spoke them.  He gave them advice from having some experience from being in the land during the recent “lean years” and before then.  He had some understanding and insight into how the Egyptians viewed shepherds.  Joseph shared what he knew and understood about the culture and circumstances that his family was embarking on living within at that time.

The Grapes of Wrath1931 Ford Model A PickupHe offered keen advice to his family members on how they would be viewed by the Egyptians.  He seems to have gathered them together before they unloaded their carts.  It is like seeing the Joads packed altogether with their belongings piled up on their Model A Ford in the 1940 classic film “The Grapes of Wrath” inspired by Steinbeck’s novel.  Most probably, Joseph huddled his family together to speak in a hushed voice or with whispers of wisdom in order to make sure that everyone was on the same page. 
He coached them on what to say.  He prepared them for being called before the king of Egypt.  He wanted to ensure that all of his people had their stories straight before they ever encountered or interacted with Pharaoh or any of his other officials.  He wanted to make sure that no one made a mistake or brought about any trouble due to ignorance of what they had come into when they entered into Egypt.
Prince of Egypt & Joseph: King of Dreams (Double Feature)Pharaoh Adult - Standard One SizeJoseph Advocated for His Family:  Joseph stated that he would vouch for them.  He shared with his family that he would inform Pharaoh of their arrival and their occupation.  He would alert Pharaoh so that the king would not be taken by surprise when he discovered that more foreigners had arrived in his land.
He would speak up for his family in the royal court and share what they all did for a living.  Joseph had a prominent position and could share such information with Pharaoh without the ruler feeling that these outsiders would present a threat to his kingdom.
In The Jungle, that is how the newcomers were able to join other family members in the factories and mills after their arrival into the city.  When you watch “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye and his family are forced out of the land with other Jews during the Russian Revolution and, just like many other characters in the play, they plan on going to America where other relatives have settled.  The Joads were viewed as Okies and met obstacles in their travels as they sought to escape the dust bowls of Oklahoma and find work in California.  In many cases, foreigners, immigrants and refugees face opposing forces upon their entry into a new place.
The Shepherd Trilogy: A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm / A Shepherd Looks at the Good Shepherd / A Shepherd Looks at the Lamb of GodJoseph Assured His Family: Based upon his position, Joseph was able to assure his family that they would live in Goshen as shepherds.  They would be able to herd their livestock.  Even though every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians, they would be able to tend to their flocks freely in Goshen. 


These people would be able to practice their trade in this new land.  The occupants of the land would not care for them,according to Joseph, due to their occupation.  Yet, they would not bother them either.

Joseph gathered his family together to inform them.  He brought them together to prepare them.  He huddled them together to coach them.  He did all of this to protect and support them.

Look at Joseph’s family leadership example.  He did not seek to usurp any authority from his father.  He did not claim to stand in the stead of his eldest brother.  He did not seek to break any cultural traditions or forsake any religious practices.  He simply spoke up and shared some advice that could help his family survive in a foreign land. 

We sure could use a reminder of how to do likewise these days.

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“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

Exceed expectations. Are you getting any closer to excellence?  Merely meeting expectations is a minimum.  When you exceed those same expectations, you start to enter into excellence.  We are to offer God our best every step of the way.  Excuses do not excuse us from the expectations of our Eternal Father.

We have to go further than we have ever gone before.  We have to take actions that will lead to exploring new territory.  Excuses are just excuses.  They do not excuse us from His expectations.  They can hinder us from doing His will or walking by faith.  They can harm progress in our spiritual maturity.  They may not even help us at all.  We have to see what excuses really do for us.  They offer nothing but trouble because they lead to procrastination, problems and poor performance or pitiful productivity.  That’s what comes forth out of excuses.

Let excellence serve as your trademark.  Lead by example.  Let excuses go.  Let others see the distinct qualities that set you apart from the crowd.  Demonstrate that you are not simply going with the flow.  In fact, if you live for Him, it may even cause you to go against the grain at times.  You begin to discover that God has put more in you than you think, but you won’t discover it until you have been put to the test.  When the tests, trials and troubles come your way, it won’t be time for excuses.  That will be the time you set your heart on excelling beyond expectations.  At that point, you become David facing a giant called GoliathRight then, you become Moses standing before a raging Red SeaIn the midst of  it, you stand out like Paul, writing as a concerned parent to his dear children, addressing believers in Rome with an assurance that every Christian is more than a conqueror.  We overcome with overwhelming strength supplied by the Supreme God, God Almighty.

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Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. Proverbs 20:11 (NIV)

There is a vast difference between right and wrong actions.  If it applies to children, you can sure bet it applies to us as adults.  That is especially true when it comes down to the “work of the ministry” as well.

God wants us busy at work for the soul-saving and gospel-spreading calling He has bestowed upon us.  He doesn’t just want us busy.  He desires that we handle kingdom business as wise stewards of the King of Glory.  Our approach should not be come about what best fits into our calendar or life plan.  We need to see where we are best suited to truly “serve the Lord with gladness.” We need to serve where we can be found faithful, even if it is over the little things.

God doesn’t want us to go about as Bible-toting busybodiesLook at the words of Paul to his young pastoral protegé Timothy as he advises on how to handle such people (1 Tim. 5:13).  God wants us serving as a busy body of believers at work for His glory, not simply a bunch of busybody believers.

Let others see you at work for God.  Show your faith through your works.  Get busy doing the right things in the right way and at the right time.  Show the world and other Christians that there is a vast difference between right and wrong.

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From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Eph. 4:16 (NIV)

As the body of Christ, we have some real work to do.  Our work includes supporting, growing, strengthening, and loving together as the “whole body.” God expects us to do our work under Christ who is the head of the body.  We are to do our work joined and held together under Christ, the head of the body.  Our work is to be done in love.

Our work should lead to the body of Christ’s growth and strengthening.  The body should grow and grow stronger.  We are responsible to Christ for what we do and how we do it as a body of believers.  Paul says that if one part of the body suffers or receives honor, every part is impacted because it is one body with many parts.

  • Does what you do help to grow the body?
  • Does what you do help to strengthen the body?
  • Do you do what you do for the body in love?

Take these questions into careful and prayerful consideration.  Look at how you can help grow and strengthen the body of Christ.  Pray over your role and function within the body of Christ.  Build up and help grow the body of Christ.

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