Respect dare series – day 17 – God sees

Genesis 16:13

So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”  

Matthew 6:16-18

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

There are times when Glenn feels unappreciated. There are times when I feel unappreciated. These tend to be when one of us is overtired or, for me, when my idealist tendencies get the best of me. God reminded me today that He stands in these gaps. He is there. He sees our efforts. He sees our giving. He sees our love. He sees our serving. Whether you feel unappreciated in the big things, or in little ways, you can continue giving out knowing that God sees you.

It is also important to remember that we shouldn’t need acknowledgement for our service. God is the One who we are serving through our love for others.

My action for today: I had a wonderful time relaxing in God and praying on the couch today during one of my boy’s naps. This was furthered during my afternoon walk as I soaked in the truth that God sees .

My prayer for today: Remind me, God, that you are there. Remind me that you are my ever present help. Remind me that you are my Champion. Remind me that you are the centre of my life. Amen.  

God is near to us. He sees our deeds.

Respect dare series – day 14 – A life laid down

Matthew 20:26-28

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I’m not saying that I should be Glenn’s slave in our modern understanding of slavery :p But I do think that this is so important to remember, especially in marriage. God calls us to humble ourselves and serve others. Glenn should feel me serving him – daily and in many different ways! If he doesn’t, then I’m not fulfilling Christ’s command. I need to put Glenn first and prefer him. Of course, in marriage, this is ideally mutually so both partners seek to serve the other.

My action for today: Service. It can be hard with our baba to want to serve another person when I feel my life is about meeting our little guy’s needs. But I want to make sure Glenn feels served during this time, too. Luckily for me Glenn isn’t too hard to look after. Lots of tea making ahead of me today!

My prayer for today: I pray that I will lay down my life in service of Glenn and our children as I believe this is my call. Help me to be servant hearted. Make me humble. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Serve with a smile

Dealing with the Travel Stained

Glenn and I were privileged to have a week down on Durban’s coast, connecting with the church we will soon be moving to join. The church held a conference whilst we were there, including a leadership meeting one evening. Unsurprisingly, the speaker’s topic for the evening was “leadership”.

Ryan (from Glenridge Church, Ballito) was sharing and asked us to turn to John 13:1-20; Jesus washing His disciples’ feet.

Washing one another’s feet

In all honesty, something like “original choice” may have entered my mind. I wasn’t closed off to his message, I just didn’t think it would hold anything new or any particular challenge for me (proud, I know, and stupid!). Maybe it didn’t hold too much that was new, but it certainly held a challenge for every believer.

I believe his message was very timely not only for me, or our congregation, but for the body of Christ, and so I want to share the five points Ryan pulled out:

1) Christ was able to serve out of His intimate relationship with the Father.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father . . .  Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. (John 13:1a, 3).

2) Jesus served from a place of love. We see that He even loved Judah to the very end; Judah, the one who betrayed Him.

Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him (John 13:1b-2).

3) Jesus served from a place of identity.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. (John 13:3-4a).

4) Jesus lived  a life of service; He did what He taught; He put “skin into the game”.

He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:4b-5).

It needs to be noted that, in Jesus’ day, washing of the feet was not a pleasant task. It was far worse than washing someone’s slightly smelly feet straight after they come out of a gym shoes. Travelling on dirt roads in sandals meant feet got dirty and sweaty. This was a lowly task. The person who washed the feet was the most inferior present, and usually a slave.

5) Jesus knew that serving did not remove His authority.

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:12-16).

The example has been set. Let us live lives of intimacy with our Father and serve out of this place. Only from this seat of intimacy can we serve in love, getting our hands dirty with real people and their travel stained feet.

Welcome the travel stained into your life from a place of intimacy with your Father.

Suffering Servant King

Through the Gospel of Mark I have been reflecting on the suffering of Christ. Let’s consider what He endured:

  • Jesus’ life was one of rejection – his family, the crowd, the religious leaders, some Gentiles… and then His closest friends. Out of His disciples, one betrayed Him, one denied Him, and the rest deserted Him. How hard would it have been for Christ to experience this (remembering that He was not only fully God but also fully man)?
  • Then before crucifixion He was scourged, mocked, beaten and had thorns pressed into His scalp. Consider the punches and kicks He endured; picture Him being spat on; consider Him being pushed into the dirt, mixed with animal dung, which would get into His open wounds. He would have been completely broken and He hasn’t even been crucified yet!
  • Traditionally if crucified you are the one to carry the cross – carry your own implement of death. But Jesus was so beaten and broken that He was physically unable do it. He was so near death that He could not carry His cross.
  • Then there was the crucifixion. He wouldn’t have had the dignity of a loin cloth. If He needed to relieve Himself it would have been openly before crowds. He was supporting His body weight either through nails in His wrists or in His feet. To breathe He had to pull His body up, which was exhausting and painful. And it took hours to die this painful way on the cross!
  • At the end He cried out, “God, why have you forsaken me”. He has been rejected by family, His town, Jews, Jewish religion leaders, 12 closest disciples, 3 closest friends, and right at the end He felt He has been rejected by God! And then He died.

Our God came to earth and new sorrow upon sorrow and pain upon suffering upon pain. Why did He do this? The Creator of all things came to earth, becoming one of His creation, allowed to be killed by His own creation, all in order to save the very people who did this to Him!

The Gospel of Mark paints the picture of Jesus as the Suffering Servant.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

 The last few weeks I have been encapsulated in my own sorrows, trials and pains. I’ve been holding on to hurt and the disappointments that come in life. I’ve been struggling to enter into praise and worship, preferring to nurse my own pain. This is not to devalue the healing that I needed and that God has achieved in me, but it is to say that my eyes were on myself, and I was having a nice pity-party. The Gospel of Mark reminds me that I have a God who has been through it all. He is merciful and loving and He can identify with my pain.

 There is such beauty that comes when we know that we are not alone in our pain. Jesus understands. And He doesn’t say, “Toughen up Princess, I’ve been through worse”. No, He says, “I know you’re hurting, I’m here to hold you as you go through it. You are precious to Me and I will see you through; you are so beloved by Me that I endured suffering unspeakable – Just.For.You”.

Oh Jesus, thank you! When we turn our eyes upon Jesus and consider what He endured for us . . .

Yes, Jesus suffered. Yes, He died. But then He rose again. And through His victory, we have received victory too! In Him we find life, and love, and HOPE!

I’m putting with this an article called “The Long Silence” and in response to this message I’d encourage you to read it and draw hope and encouragement from it.

Be blessed.