A Gift That Keeps Giving

Neglect not the gift that is in thee…” 1 Tim. 4:14

Writing to his son in the faith, the apostle Paul urged Timothy to not neglect the spiritual gifts and talents that had been bestowed upon him to glorify Christ and edify the Church. Since the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance (Rom. 11:29), we have an equal duty to serve the risen, glorified Savior to the full extent of our ability. To allow apathy, worldliness, bitterness or any other attitude to derail us is to forfeit the greatest opportunity to express by our actions the gratitude of our hearts. We were careful to not neglect His “so great salvation”, let’s also be careful to not neglect His great service as well.

“Lord, I thank Thee for salvation, for thy mercy full and free;
Take me now in consecration, glorify Thyself in Me”

Success in the Lord – Luke 5

Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Lk. 5:4

Simon Peter must have been surprised when the Lord turned and instructed him to launch out into the Galilee. He had offered his own boat and thrust out “a little” from the land so that the Lord could teach the multitude. But now Peter was being called upon to go further in his service for the Master. What started out as a menial task became a meaningful one despite Peter’s doubts and concerns. (v. 5) Yet doubt gave way to duty (and amazement) as the Lord rewarded their meager but obedient faith. Don’t be afraid to attempt great things for the Lord. To whom He calls, He can enable, even in the midst of an “insignificant” task. Launch out into the deep — today — and let down your nets for a draught.

But many, alas! Only stand on the shore, And gaze on the ocean so wide;They never have ventured its depths to explore, Or to launch on the fathomless tide.- R. Kelso Carter

The Road to Recovery – 1 Samuel 30

“…David recovered all.” 1 Sam. 30:19

A sadder picture there could not be. David, out of the will of God stands with his men amid the smoldering ruins of Ziklag, lamenting their loss at the hands of the Amalekites who had ransacked their camp and had taken captive their wives, children and all their possessions. The anguish of heart that David experienced was the inevitable result from his brief defection to Achish, king of Gath. Stripped of self and pride, David now encouraged himself in the Lord and launched a counter offensive against the enemy recovering all that he had lost. He was renewed in the Lord and as a result recovered all.
Christian friend, have you suffered some loss as a result of your friendship with the world? Return to the Lord and find your strength in Him, and perhaps you too will recover all.

“ Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed;I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand –G. Keith

The Work of the Ministry

“And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.” Colossians 4:17

The apostle Paul must have been aware of something in the life of Archippus that was hindering his effectiveness as a servant of the Lord. Was it a doctrinal issue similar to the one that threatened to corrupt the testimony in Colosse? Was it a personal compromise in his life that blocked his joy in the Lord and cooled his passion for service? Could it have been an unresolved conflict with a fellow believer that festered and chafed at his ministry. Or perhaps it was discouragement from a sustained trial or disappointment over unfulfilled expectations that brought about a spiritual malaise in his life. Whatever the reason, Archippus needed a little “boost” from the apostle to maintain a proper focus for the ministry that he had been entrusted to him. As those who also have been endowed with spiritual gifts and talents from the Lord, let us also be careful to “take heed” to the ministry that we have received from Him–letting nothing jeopardize the reward that awaits us.

Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor,
Keep the way clear! let nothing between.–Charles Tindley

The Compassionate Heart

Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.”Ezek. 3:15

“ Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Rom 12:15

Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of the Lord and his subsequent call to ministry were both dramatic and unmistakable. God had called him to go to his own people to declare their transgression–the reason for their captivity in Babylon. (2:3-4). Yet before Ezekiel embarked on his mission,“ he sat where they sat” for seven days identifying with their misery. Before he brought a word from the Lord, he brought himself, entering into their sorrow. Likewise, no matter how urgent our task from the Lord may be, the ground of God’s work is often prepared and softened by the sympathizing heart in tune with those in need. May we be more like Ezekiel as we serve the Lord. Mark Kolchin

Make me a channel of blessing today,
Make me a channel of blessing, I pray;
My life possessing, my service blessing,
Make me a channel of blessing today. — Smyth

Only Trust Him

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!” Isa. 31:1

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7

Why do we have such a hard time trusting the Lord? We trusted Him for our salvation, banking on it for all eternity, yet in practical day to day matters, we resort to walking by sight and not by faith. We “stay on horses” –until we either fall or get thrown off. We “trust in chariots” until they get bogged down or break. We trust in “horsemen” because they are “very strong”, and find out to our dismay that they too have their weaknesses and learn that “the best men are only men at best”. We look to the world and to business as a pattern for success, until a “new” approach is adopted by the next generation and the old is ditched. Yes, we truly do “go down” every time we look for help apart from the Lord. Let’s not trust in things or in people, or in circumstances, but rather let us remember the name of the Lord our God and trust in Him alone. Mark Kolchin

Trust in Him ye saints forever, He is faithful, changing never,
Neither force nor guile can sever those He loves from Him. T. Kelly

A Thanksgiving Testimony – Deuteronomy 26

“And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father…” Deut. 26:5
“ For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” Psalm 86:5

One of the components of Israel’s offering of the first fruits involved a word of personal testimony. It was to come after they had entered and enjoyed the first fruits of the land of promise. After confessing that they were “ready to perish”, they were to publicly acknowledge that the Lord enriched them, outlining His marvelous grace to the nation while in Egypt. The priest would then take their baskets of firstfruits and present it to the Lord (vv. 5-8). We too were once “ready to perish”. But thankfully, the Lord also was “ready to forgive”—and He did. Now we have the wonderful privilege of bringing our baskets of praise and worship–the fruit of our lips–to our Great High Priest who presents them before the throne of grace. We have been enriched by His grace, and are enjoying the good of the “land”, but it is only the beginning of more to come.

A Solid Work

“So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” Neh. 6:3

Nehemiah’s commitment to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem had been challenged on numerous occasions. Perhaps the greatest came when his enemies invited him to leave what he was doing to respond to their accusations. Firmly resolved to complete his task,, Nehemiah stayed where he was. Challenged to come down from the cross, our Lord responded similarly. Knowing what lay ahead, “He endured the cross”, firmly resolved to the finish the work the Father gave Him to do (John 3:34) His heart’s response was the same: “I am doing a great work so that I cannot come down.” Mark Kolchin

Done is the work that saves, once and forever done;
Finished the righteousness that clothes the unrighteous One. — H. Bonar

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