Sunday, June 10, 2018
Sunday Message- the SERVANT acronym
Last time, I ended with this:
Point being, being a "David" servant isn't necessarily about the beatings, either- the word "servant" in the subscript is the same as for "us"- but it is in gradually becoming MORE LIKE JESUS- something that David had mastered, despite his faults, and we can to. Pray that God shows us how to do that in the weeks and months to come.
So how do we accomplish this? Before I go into my personal plan for this, let me have Paul remind you of one thing:
Phil 3:12 It is not as though I had already attained it, nor were already perfect; but I follow after, that I may apprehend that for which Christ Jesus also apprehended me.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended it, but this one thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes I fear that I may come off as sounding like an expert. If you were inside me this week, you'd see how far away from THAT I am. I am only trying to show you the path I am trying to take to "press toward the mark."
Okay, breast-beating done, let me get on with things. I decided for the first time in my Christian life, I am going to ask God for a personal acronym, to learn how to be a "David" servant. And here's what I am working on- the ways that David was a servant, becoming more like Christ.
S IS FOR SINCERE
David might have been the most sincere, single-minded servant of the Old Testament. You lose it in the histories, but if you go through Psalms, you see the anguish in his heart over his sin, and how earnestly he seeks God to defeat it. For me, that means I have to watch for:
-Going through the motions in prayer and obedience;
-Checking my motivations against God's will in prayer;
-Making sure what I am doing now isn't planning what I can "get away with" later.
E IS FOR EXAMINE
Psalms 139:23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
See, David knew better than to trust in himself. A while back, I was discussing with KC of how the 6S programs at work could apply to our walk with God, and he made a very valuable point- GOD DOES THE AUDIT. David set only one standard for himself, and that was God's standard.
R IS FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
And once again, this is not about my "filthy rags". This is that Breastplate of Righteousness that Paul talks about, where by obedience to Christ, we take on His righteousness and He shields our hearts. I think by now you are seeing the developing theme: This is not something to be made into a sign, stuck on a wall, and say, "Remember to do these things today". It's about asking Jesus to do them in me. A while back, we talked about a verse in Wednesday Bible Study wherein the prophet told the people to stand and wait, because the battle is the Lord's. I have been trying to model that. I draw a line which I determine not to cross; then try to stand behind God and let Him do the "this far and no farther" thing that He is much better at.
V IS FOR VERTICAL
As in, the connection between you and God. Keeping the channel open all day, every day. And the one thing I have learned about that is, the more necessary it is, the harder to accomplish. God will always have His end of the channel open if you need Him. This, though, is the one thing YOU have the control on.
A IS FOR AVAILABLE
The sermon by Dennis Miller I listened to last week right after I typed out last week's post dovetailed perfectly into the post- it was on Samuel being a servant. In particular he brought out Samuel's repeated use of the word, hinneh - a word for "Here I am" so strong that it is only used a handful of times in the Old Testament- including Moses' response to God at the Burning Bush, and Abraham's when God ordered Isaac's sacrifice. It means when God calls, you drop everything. Like in the cartoons, when the King rings his bell and the servant arrives in a blur. That is the kind of "availability" God expects.
N IS FOR NEVER CONSIDERED ALTERNATIVES
The fact that I had to go fetch my prayer book to remember this one tells you all you need to know on how far I have to go. David was a vivid contrast to Saul in this one. Saul was a grown man, the anointed King of Israel, with the greatest prophet since Moses backing him up, and yet he cowered before Goliath of the Philistines; and you can tell why that is when you consider that he always referred to "the Lord YOUR God" and not the Lord OUR God. David, however, came out to the battlefield, a youth too young to be considered for war, held in contempt by his brothers, and he hits the nail right on the head:
I Sam 17:26 And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
I would like to say that this is me. A brush with Rune magic in my past tells me it is not. But it is the closest to David I get, because I can't remember a time that I didn't believe in God and Christ- though I remember plenty when I didn't UNDERSTAND Him.
T IS FOR TRUTH
David held fast to truth- it gave him perspective when God took his first child with Bathsheba. And it is the single most vital need in our world today- as the political friends of Satan treat facts as blocks to carve up, shift around, face completely backwards, to build their agenda. An agenda that excuses them from moral responsibility and allows them to call the acceptance of sin "tolerance" and holding fast to the truth "bigotry". I recently stumbled onto some of the teachings of Charles Stanley's son Andy. He tells us we need to "disconnect" from the Old Testament, because the way it puts things is keeping today's prospective converts from giving the Gospel a fair shake. When people question this theme, he shrugs it off with, "Well you need to listen to the entire series. I still believe the OT is divinely inspired; BUT..." In an article on the subject by Wesley Hill, the author goes on:
It is wearyingly predictable where all this ends up. Zeroing in on the so-called apostolic decree narrated in Acts 15, in which the Jerusalem apostles asked Gentile Christians to refrain from sexual immorality, Stanley concludes:
"This was a general call to avoid immoral behavior[,] but not immoral behavior as defined by the Old Testament … [rather,] as defined by the apostle Paul. … The apostle Paul was explicit and specific about sexual immorality but he did not tie it to the Old Testament. … The old covenant, law of Moses, was not the go-to source regarding sexual behavior for the church. … The Old Testament was not the go-to source regarding any behavior for the church."
This is that same old, "If Jesus didn't directly say it, it doesn't count" argument that I see the LGBT "Christians" use over and over as an excuse for staying in their sin. I was shocked to read that someone brought up by Charles Stanley would come up with this; and disappointed when I asked Stanley's In Touch ministries to respond to this, and got nothing back. Perhaps I will ask it again the next time they send me out a letter asking for contributions. And this, my friends, is why you don't play the "I follow Paul, I follow Apollos" game.
So there you have it- and thank you for the prayers that have helped me develop it this far. Now, "take my hand" as I learn the application of it in my life.