Serving One Another

The work of God’s Spirit within us depends upon our cooperation with Him. We cannot produce fruit without His presence in us; but He cannot produce fruit in us, if we are not willing to surrender every area of our life to Him. As the Spirit gives us God’s character and special gifts, we use them to serve one another (1 Corinthians 12:4).

The Holy Spirit enables us, by the grace of God, to be good managers of His diverse gifts within us (1 Peter 4:10). God instructs us to care for others, but He also cautions us to care for our needs as well (Matthew 22:39; Philippians 2:3-6). If we neglect our own salvation, or our physical, emotional and mental needs, then we will have no resources to share with others.

We will run out of emotional and physical energy. We will end up bitter and resentful, because we will do all of the serving. It is important for us to care for our self too. Some believe it is selfish to care for our self. I used to think that as I served others, they would serve me, and both our emotional tanks would be full.

This put an undue burden on others to give to me as much as I gave to them. They did not have the resources within them to do this, so we all ended up losing. My expectations were constantly disappointed and I battled to keep myself encouraged and motivated to continue serving anyway. What I finally learned was that codependence with other people is an illness.

We are to depend only on God in our life. We are to obey His Spirit’s direction each moment of the day. If we serve someone, without His direction, we may divert God’s dealings in that person’s life. As we function in God’s spiritual anointing, we never run out of energy to serve those to whom God leads us to minister. We can even meet our own needs as God’s Spirit brings them to our attention.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to rely on You for every need in our life. Please encourage us with the truth that it is acceptable to ask for our needs to be met too, and to meet our own needs if no one else will. Help us to make friends who will bring blessings into our life rather than those who suck the life right out of us. Teach us to erect boundaries for those toxic people who attempt to take advantage of us. Remind us that we should minister to others only as Your Spirit directs us throughout the day. We will show the love of Christ to others as You make a way, not as our human compassion demands.

Thought for the Day:
Authentic Believers dwell in, exhibit and function from the righteousness and holiness of God in our service to those God brings our way.

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Comfort for the Oppressed

God cares about the abused and the oppressed. He loves the mistreated, but He abhors our affliction. He gathers our tears in His bottle and records them in His journal (Psalm 56:8). He promises not to hide His face from us when we cry out to Him, and He champions our cause (Psalm 22:24, 140:12). He redeems the soul of the afflicted from deceit and violence, and our blood is precious in His sight (Psalm 72:14).

The Lord hates those who love violence and promises to punish them (Psalm 11:5; Zephaniah 1:9). He is wearied by the violence in homes and those who make excuses for divorcing their mate, whom they should be protecting (Malachi 2:16). God promises to lift up the distressed above those who try to hurt them and to deliver them from violent people (Psalm 18:48; Psalm 27:5-6).

Even verbal abuse is dealt with when God inspires Solomon to write, “violence covers the mouth of the wicked” (Proverbs 10:6,11). Jesus equates anger without a cause as murder, and He speaks out against verbal abuse (Matthew 5:21-22). He makes things right and provides the afflicted with a refuge from oppression and trouble (Psalm 9:9; 103:6). He brings down the haughty evil person and saves the afflicted (2 Samuel 22:28).

God gives us hope and a secure future (Jeremiah 29:11). Our weeping may endure for the night, but God gives us joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Because we know the name of the Lord, we put our trust in Him. He will never forsake those who seek Him. We end up singing praises to His name for what He does for us and we tell everyone who will listen about what God did for us (Psalm 9:9-11).

Prayer:
Father God, even if we walk through the shadow of death, we have nothing to fear. You are with us and You give us support and protection, as well as correction if we are causing our own misfortune (Psalm 23:4). Even though the righteous may suffer many afflictions, You deliver us out of them all (Psalm 34:19). You order our steps, and even if we fall, we are never completely cast down, because You hold us up with Your hand (Ps 37:23-24). Remind us to bear one another burdens (Galatians 6:2) and to encourage each other in our times of distress (Hebrews 12:12).

Thought for the Day:
Jesus is our rock, fortress and deliverer in whom we can take refuge. He is our shield and the horn of our salvation, our stronghold. – Psalm 18:2