Here to Serve

[Jesus] poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet. John 13:5

It was time for our church to commission a new group of leaders. To symbolize their roles as servant-leaders, the church elders participated in a memorable foot-washing ceremony. Each of the leaders—including the pastor—washed each other’s feet as the congregation observed them.

What they did that day was modeled for us by Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 13. In that incident, which happened at what is called the Last Supper, Jesus “got up from the meal, . . . poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet” (John 13:4–5). Later, as Jesus was explaining to His disciples why He had done this, He said, “No servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (v. 16). He also said, “I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27).

Dear Lord, help me serve others.

If it is not below Jesus’s dignity to do such a lowly task, it is not below any of us to serve others. What an amazing example He set for all of us. Indeed, He “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). He showed us what it means to be a leader and a servant. That’s Jesus, the One who serves.

Dear Lord, help me serve others. Guide me to set aside my personal interests and desires to provide help to those who need it.

No deed is small when done for Christ.

By Dave Branon 

INSIGHT:In what ways does my heart reflect the serving spirit of the Savior? In what ways has my attitude been in contrast to His example of serving?

God Is With Us in Hard Times

Genesis 41:14-44

The Bible is relevant for every situation. Although the details of our circumstances probably differ from those described in Scripture, God’s Word still applies.

From the life of Joseph, we get a glimpse of what it means to have God with us in hard times. First of all, the young man’s faith strengthened, helping him place loyalty to the Lord above his personal welfare. For example, when Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph, he refused, saying he would not sin against God (Gen. 39:9).

Second, the Lord’s presence meant that Joseph prospered right where he was—as a slave in Potiphar’s house and as a prisoner in a foreign jail. In both situations, those in charge recognized that God’s favor was upon Joseph. So they gave him great responsibility and authority (Gen. 39:3-4, Gen. 39:21-22).

Third, during times of suffering, Joseph gained invaluable life lessons that prepared him for the future. As a slave and prisoner, Joseph learned the details of Egyptian culture, ways to handle responsibility, and the importance of keeping God first.

An additional blessing was the opportunity to be a witness to the Lord’s power and sufficiency. When brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dream, Joseph said he could not do it but testified that God could (41:16).

By relying on the Lord the way Joseph did, we will see our faith grow. When we give God His rightful place as Lord over our life, His presence will strengthen us to resist temptation. Then we, too, will be equipped to do kingdom work and ready to proclaim His greatness to those around us.

Handfuls of Purpose

“And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” (Ruth 2:16)

This verse contains the unusual instruction of Boaz to his servants concerning Ruth after she asked if she could glean after the reapers in his field of barley. Not only did Boaz allow her to do so but also commanded his servants to “let fall some of the handfuls of purpose” for her, thus making her task easier.

It is interesting that the same Hebrew word, basically meaning “take a spoil,” is used twice in this verse, once translated “let fall” and once as “of purpose.” The word for “handfuls,” used only this once in the Bible, evidently refers to a hand’s “grip.” Although all the translations seem to have difficulty with it, Boaz seems actually to be saying, in effect, to his servants: “Grab as though you were taking a spoil for her from the bundles of sheaves, and leave them as a spoil for her.” This was to be a deliberate and purposeful gift on Boaz’s part, but Ruth was not to know so that she could assume she had gleaned it all on her own.

Boaz, therefore, like his distant descendant (through his soon-to-be bride, Ruth) Jesus Christ, provided that which represented the bread of life as a gracious gift to his coming bride. In this, as in other ways, Boaz is a type of Christ and Ruth is a type of each believer destined for union with Him.

But the sheaves also represent the Word of God from which we daily can glean life-giving food for our souls. Our God has been pleased to leave us many “handfuls of purpose” along the way in the fruitful field of Scripture that we can stoop to gather as we go. Our heavenly “Boaz” has paid the price to take the spoil for us, but as we kneel down to glean each morsel, we “rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162). HMM

We ought always to pray

Luke 18:1-14

Our time will be well spent if we study one of our Lord’s discourses upon prayer. It consists of two parables.

Luke 18:1

To commence prayer is easy, but to continue in it is another thing. We too often flag and grow remiss, and so we lose the blessing.

Luke 18:5

He was a wicked, unfeeling man, ready enough to pervert justice and grant the suit to the oppressor; his petitioner was a poor woman, bereft of her natural protector, and quite unable to affect his hard heart by her sad tale; yet her importunity won her suit, he was afraid of being tired to death, and therefore he attended to her cry. Every part of the parable strengthens our case, for we deal with a faithful and gracious God, who is ready to hear us; we are poor and feeble, it is true, but we have a powerful Advocate in the great Husband of the church; therefore if we do not obtain our request the first time, we should pray again and again, and never cease till our importunity obtains its end.

Luke 18:7

They are no strangers, but “his own elect;” surely he will hear them.

Luke 18:8

The prayers of the suffering church will not have long to wait. God’s time comes on.

Luke 18:8

It is so scarce that even He who best can discover faith will hardly find any of it. Shame upon our unbelief.

Luke 18:11

He stood by himself as if too holy to be touched by others, and his prayer was indeed, no prayer, but a self-glorification

Luke 18:12

Under the pretence of praising God, he praised himself. It is all “I,” “I fast,” “I give,” and so on. Nor was this enough, he indulged in uncharitable reflections upon others, making at the same time a list of his own virtues and a catalogue of other men’s failings, and crowning all with a sneer at his neighbour.

Luke 18:13

He confessed his sin, he smote upon his heart as the cause of it, he pleaded for mercy, and he had an eye to the atonement, for his prayer really meant, “Be propitious towards me through sacrifice.”

Luke 18:14

He had a sweet sense of pardon in his breast, and the other had it not, for indeed he had not even asked for it:

Luke 18:14

From all this let us learn to pray importunately, but not proudly. We must be earnest, but yet humble. We may be bold, but not arrogant. Lord teach us to pray.


The Lord their different language knows,

And different answers he bestows;

The humble soul with grace he crowns,

Whilst on the proud his anger frowns.


Dear Father! let me never be

Join’d with the boasting Pharisee;

I have no merits of my own,

But plead the sufferings of thy Son.


Bringing Correction Into Someone Else’s Life

2 Timothy 2:24

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are trying to help someone who isn’t listening or paying attention to what you are trying to tell him? Should that happen to you in the future, don’t allow yourself to get so angry that you lose your temper and say or do something you will later regret!

It’s frustrating to try to help someone who stubbornly sits across the table, peers at you in total defiance, and reacts to your counsel as if you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. But from time to time, everyone faces situations like this. Perhaps it happens when a parent tries to speak to his rebellious child; when an employer tries to bring correction to an employee; when a pastor speaks the truth that a church member doesn’t want to hear; or when someone tries to lovingly communicate his concern to a friend who he believes is making a mistake in his life.

As you begin the process of bringing correction into a person’s life, put yourself in his shoes. If you were the one sitting there, would it be easy or difficult for you to hear what is about to be said? Would you feel wonderful about receiving correction, or would you feel a little embarrassed?

If the person you are correcting acts closed or puts up a wall of defense at first, it may be that he’s just embarrassed or reacting out of insecurity. Therefore, don’t stop the conversation unless you can see that he’s definitely just being combative and is completely closed to your input. In order to discern the true situation, you need to be patient and slow in judging his reaction to your correction.

When Paul wrote and instructed Timothy how to bring correction into someone’s life, he stressed the need to be “patient” when giving correction. In Second Timothy 2:24, he wrote, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” The Greek word for “patient” is aneksikakos. This is a compound of the words anechomai and kakos. The word anechomai means to endure patiently, to bear with, or to have a tolerant attitude toward someone or something. The word kakos is the Greek word for evil or for something that is bad.

When these two words are compounded into the word aneksikakos as they are in this verse, the new word portrays an attitude that is tolerant and that bears with a bad, depraved, or an evil response. Paul was telling us that when we attempt to bring correction into a person’s life and his response is wrong or even terrible, we are not to get all flared up about it! Getting upset won’t make the situation any better. Instead, we are to grab hold of the power of God, look that person in the eyes, and bear with him until he calms down and hears what we are saying. In other words, sometimes we just have to put up with a person’s reaction, whether it’s good or bad.


Because the word aneksikakos is used in this verse, Second Timothy 2:24 could be rendered:

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. That means you must put up with those who don’t act too thrilled when you sit down to correct or instruct them. You have to be patient and tolerantly bear with them and their reactions until they finally hear what you are trying to express to them.”

In Galatians 6:1, Paul warned us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” When I am about to give correction, it has always been helpful for me to remember how difficult it might be to sit on the other side of the table and hear a superior correcting me. So before I correct someone, I first consider how I would want to be told if I had done something wrong, just as Paul suggested: “… considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

Before you charge into a room to correct someone, first take some time to pray and really think about the best, the most peaceful, and the most positive way to speak these words of correction or even words of rebuke. Do it in the right spirit, and don’t permit yourself to get upset if you see a response that isn’t exactly what you had hoped for. Just hold tight, be calm, and bear with the person you’re talking to a little while as he adjusts to the idea of being corrected. If he ultimately refuses your correction and remains defiant, you may have to take a different route. But at least in the beginning, be patient with that person if he doesn’t respond the way you hoped.

This is exactly what the apostle Paul is talking about when he stresses that you must be “patient” when you bring correction into someone’s life. So why not ask the Holy Spirit today to help you become more temperate when people under your authority don’t respond exactly as you had wished? Be patient and believe that they will eventually come around!


Lord, I ask You to help me be kind and patient when it is essential for me to bring correction. Help me to not be offended if the person I’m trying to help doesn’t respond at first the way I wished he would have. Help me to put myself in that person’s shoes and to sympathize with how he might feel. I ask You to give me the wisdom to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. I also ask that You give the other person the grace to hear what I am telling him so he might see that I have his best interest at heart and that I am only trying to help him.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I have the mind of Jesus Christ! When it is needful for me to speak correction to someone else, I do it with love, kindness, and patience. I refrain from allowing anger to rise up inside me. I am careful about the words that come out of my mouth, and I refuse to participate in vain arguing. I remain in control of myself as the Holy Spirit works mightily inside me. My words bring life to all who hear and receive them!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Can you think of a time in your own life when someone had to bring correction to you? How did you fare in the way you received it? Were you opened-hearted—or offended and defiant?
  2. What did you do when you were being corrected that you wouldn’t want someone to do to you if you were the one trying to bring correction?
  3. When it’s necessary to bring correction to someone, what should you do to make it easier for that person to receive your correction?


A Secret Love Affair

Let’s admit it! Many of us have been carrying on a secret love affair for years!


And doing a pretty good job of masking it from our fellow believers in Christ. And why do we continue the “affair”? Simply because we love how it:

  • Panders our appetite for sensual gratification
  • Entices our eyes and caters to the greedy longings of our mind, and
  • Fosters our desire to live a life of pretension.

The “love affair” to which I am referring is our surrender to the evil values of this world system that governs the goings on of mankind; a system which is headed by none other than Satan himself – “The Prince of this world.” (John 12:31; 14:30)


If we have capitulated to this Prince by currying a “love affair” with his domain, we have a serious problem. You see, as professed followers of Jesus Christ, God will not allow us the luxury of two loves:


If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)


We simply cannot have it both ways: Loving the “world” and loving God.


So how does one extricate oneself from a “love affair” with this world? Jesus’ prayer to the Father concerning the 12 disciples (Judas excepted), the night before the cross, gives us insight into the answer to that question:


I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:14, 17)


The inner transformation affected by the disciples’ intake of the Word of God signaled to the world that they were no longer one of them. So the world “hated” them. In a similar vein, Paul stated that he was “crucified to the world and the world to (him).” (Galatians 6:14b). He in kind had grown to hate the “world system.” In other words, both sides had written the other off because there was no longer common ground for fellowship.


SO… THE BIG QUESTION IS: Are you resisting the world’s seductive charm by the inner change that results from consistent, and disciplined meditation upon God’s Word?


If not, you are choosing by default to foster your “love affair” with the “Prince of this world‘s” dominion. And in so doing you have become God’s adversary, because “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4).



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