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Archive for February, 2014

“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1)

The word here translated bondservant is actually the word slave (doulos).  It is a strong word, carrying the following meanings:

  • It refers to one born into slavery.
  • It refers to one who is in a relation to another which only death can break
  • It refers to one whose will is swallowed up in the will of another.
  • It refers to one who serves another even to the disregard of his own interests.

The word slave is an unpopular word….and for good reason.  Throughout the history of humanity, the stronger have conquered the weaker and subjected them to the most horrific indignities.  The first goal of a slave is simply to survive.  But a close second would be to obtain freedom.  Yet the Apostle Paul willingly made himself a bond-slave of Christ.

Born a slave to sin, he was born again a slave to righteousness.  At the moment of new birth, he entered into a relationship with the Lord Jesus which not even death could sever, for the power of death was broken on the cross.  He was a man whose will was utterly swallowed up in the will of God, demonstrated by his utter disregard even for his own life that he might preach Christ.

This disgraceful word…..slave…..has now been given an air of dignity by all of those who, like Paul, have gladly chosen the title of slave for themselves because of the exceeding greatness of the Master.  Head high, chin up, eyes lifted heavenward…….we serve with gladness.

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“The couriers who rode on royal horses, went out, hastened and pressed on by the kings command” Esther 8:14

BACKGROUND: That wicked Haman had persuaded the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of the Jews. Queen Esther successfully exposed Haman’s plot against her people and a new decree was written, counteracting the previous one. So at the king’s command the order was given to send the decree by means of couriers to make it known through the entirety of the land. And so they went out, they hastened, they pressed on.

They went out….no easy thing in those days. It involved exposure to the elements and to the dangers associated with travel. But the message had to be taken and they were the ones commissioned to do it.

They hastened….this caught my attention. It is a word that means much more than might be thought at first glance. Much more than hurry……….it means to tremble inwardly, be alarmed or agitated. The lives of many people were on the line. Disaster loomed over their heads until the decree was delivered. The couriers understood this and trembled at the importance and magnitude of the task they had been given.

They pressed on……in the face of weariness and hardship, maybe wanting to give up and just go back home, yet they relentlessly persisted until their task had been accomplished. So many reasons to quit, but one over-riding reason to press on – the king’s command.

A command has been given in our day as well, by an infinitely more glorious and powerful King: “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15. Perhaps we should consider how we are responding to such a command.
Are we going out? Has the gospel of the Lord Jesus moved us out of our comfort zones and propelled us into the harvest – the harvest in the nations, the harvest in our city, the harvest in the workplace, the harvest in our own homes? Are we content to just let someone else do it, hoping the message will get there somehow, preferring the comfort, safety and routineness of life as usual?

Do we have a proper sense of the urgency and importance of the message? Men perish eternally without the gospel. Souls are lost forever. There is no remedy for them once they step into eternity apart from the saving blood of Christ….only the certainty of eternal separation from God in a place of eternal suffering. Do we tremble over their fate? Does it ever cost us tears or sleepless nights? Doesn’t it just seem like it should?

We have been entrusted with delivery of the message to them that their destruction has been counteracted by the decree made on Calvary…”It is finished.” No longer must they live with wrath lingering just beyond their final breath. No longer must they live separated from the God who wants to be known as Father. The invitation has been issued from heaven for all to come.

But those who do not hear, cannot come.

Are we serving the Lord with endurance? I think often of the Apostle Paul’s command to Timothy – “you therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). We must. Adversity and opposition will come as we go forward to take the message of grace to a world that insists on being offended at the cross. But we must press on. Retreat is not an option. And how can those of us who have tasted of this abundant life refuse to endure any difficulties necessary that we may bring others into this life?

My brothers and sisters who read this…..I have read over this multiple times seeking to remove any harshness from it. I have no desire to cause guilt or shame to anyone. But in my own life I find myself often needing a reminder of what is at stake. So many things crowd into our lives to distract us…..but the souls……let us not forget about the souls…….

They are waiting for the gospel.

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Lonely for You

In life’s lonely seasons of sorrow
balancing on the very edge of emotional meltdown
wordless, with tears and sighs, aching

Yet even if every situation was happily resolved
so that all seemed right with the world again
it would not satisfy, it would not be enough
I am lonely for You Jesus

Every prayer has become an act of desperation
reaching, grasping, intensely needing…
You

Listening so closely for even Your whisper
silence again
yet still I wait….for You

And though the waiting is an agony
to not wait is unthinkable
I will watch for You
I know You will come and meet with me
until then…my heart’s cry….
I am lonely for You Jesus

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