Today’s Reading: Click Here – Psalm 29; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 1 Timothy 4:11-16 (to open the scripture links – hover over, right click, open hyperlink)
As I read and reflect on our scripture passages today, I am compelled to take a closer look at myself, the beauty of the Earth all around me and just how I fit in, the role I am called to play, and my Lord God’s word that makes this known.
Psalm 29 seems to illuminate the voice of the Lord, even in the storm. As a Psalm of David, in its poetic beauty, it describes the strength in a storm and unveils it as the powerful voice of God. It is pure praise. It does not call upon us to do anything because the psalm itself is doing the only thing it is compelled to do. It is praising God. Giving thanks and praise IN all things, even the storms!
Our 1 Samuel passage today, reminds me of that famous saying ‘don’t’ judge a book by it’s cover’. Not always is it referring to a book. Thank goodness, God judges us not by our outward appearance but by our faith and character by seeing and knowing our heart. It is not how we look on the outside; the color of our skin or eyes, our body shape, what we wear, the hairstyle we have. What does our heart look like? What is God seeing? Anyone can ‘fake it ‘til they make it’, appearing to be righteous and just on the outside, when really, on the inside, they are angry and outraged, frantic and insensible, broken and unstable. We can feel what’s going on in our own heart and live justly and accordingly to His Word even through a stormy vale. Seeing the hearts of others is not openly revealed to us, but often if we listen and pay close attention to the voice of others, we just may get a glimpse of their heart. I often pray that God helps me to have eyes to see the world and others through His eyes, with a heart to magnify His love unconditionally, without reserve, hesitation or judgement, but with a heart of compassion, empathy and pure love. I’m not saying it’s that easy, but when we are intentional to draw close to someone, God can render His love through us.
Our 1 Timothy passage today highlights our call to ‘Be the Example’. We all can recall these words; “Do as I say, not as I do.” Anytime someone adopts this attitude, we most likely find it hard to respect that person, because it truly is hypocritical to say one thing and do another. When a person’s actions do not match their words, integrity is lacking. And when one lacks integrity, credibility is lost. It’s likely that we can no longer trust or respect one who continually displays a lack of integrity and no credibility.
So how does this apply to God’s word and His church as the People of God? There is no teaching more important than the teaching of God’s word in the church, in our home and our community. As Christians, it is extremely essential that we often do a ‘Self Check’ to avoid being consumed by a wrongful and faithless attitude and approach to life. Even though God’s word is true, if we don’t live and act according to it, we will soon lack integrity and lose credibility as a faithful follower of Christ Jesus. Without credibility, people will not take God’s word seriously or as truth. I like to follow the GUT RULE, if it FEELS wrong, it probably IS wrong, and we should seek God’s word and prayer in those times of temptation and destruction to set us back on the straight away again. When we are still and focused on God’s word, we are able hear his voice and witness His power and strength as our own.
There are three disciplines that this passage brings to light;
- set an example for others, (vs. 11-12)
- do not neglect your spiritual gifts (vs. 13-14)
- make visible progress and persevere (vs. 15-16)
The examples we set begin with the force of our faith and desire to serve God by our actions and behavior within our own lives to glorify and praise Him and extending His love to others. We are called to model this life of faith, to be an example. Like children who learn from the example and teachings of their parents, whether good or bad, it is the same for us in living a life of faith committed to serving God, and keeping our ‘self’ in check to be the exemplar Child of God, the best we know how, and we know this by reading scripture, our life manual. We are to be a Christlike example, an inspiration and blessing to family, friends and others, even strangers.
Each one of us has been given spiritual gifts to do the work God has called us for. These gifts are to be used to serve God in the journey we are on. In verse 14, it considers the laying on of hands of the Elders to bear and bring forth the spiritual gifts within us. I remember this very well, moved by such spiritual force and crusade, I knew then, without a doubt that I was called to serve. Through prayer and supplication, I asked God to reveal my gifts and ways in which to best use them. I found my passion in planning and developing practices that benefited the church and glorified God, as well as the deep care for others.
Having recognized this, I have put my best intentions and strengths to work, giving 100% of my efforts dedicated to the call of God’s work through the ministries of the church. Verse 15-16 instructs us to do this with outward measures for all to see, again setting that example. God acknowledges our work and deeds that glorify Him and serve His people, and His reward is ten-fold, which flourishes our desire to persevere and receive God’s extraordinary blessings.
Go and hear God’s voice. Act on it. Set the example as a faithful believer for his glory. Model to the world what ‘a heart for God’ really looks like, and preserve always!
Here are a few songs for your spiritual listening pleasure and Advent meditation:
Lord, let your voice ring loud through my praises that I would feel your Spirit move within me. Show me Lord, the way to be an example as your faithful servant and your beloved child. Your blessings are abundant and your love is unconditional, because you know my heart. Open my eyes to see myself and others through your eyes. I persevere because you are my rock and you uphold me with your righteous hand. May I always act on your precious love, grace and mercy! In this, I pray in Jesus, our Savior’s name. AMEN.