Daily Devotional for Sunday April 21, 2013
Seize the Moment
(Mark 10:43; Deuteronomy 10:12; Hebrews 12:28; Matthew 5:16)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, what is considered gossiping?
ANSWER: Gossiping is peaking about other people when they are not present. I have always maintained that if you are going to talk about what other people have said or done that you don't agree with, you should go to the person. For the record, there is not ONE person I have ever spoken of or used as an example in the Daily Devotional that I have not first reached out to. While I maintain a ridiculous schedule, I have always made myself accessible to anyone. I understand people in the entertainment world put up walls so people can't have access them. Sadly, I have found most high profile preachers have insulated themselves so people CAN'T speak to them, and when contacted through phone messages, emails, or letters, they are too important to even respond.
Seize the moment!!! Today is one of those messages that companies spend $100,000 on to bring in the hot motivational guru of the day to deliver to their employees. The worst part is, they throw that money down the toilet, since these false-hope merchants deliver nothing but hype and a New Age philosophy that makes people believe THEY can do it, when the truth is nothing is possible without God.
Today, I want to share with you how to be all God has called you to be in your life, while encouraging you and challenging you to accomplish more than you ever thought you could for the Lord, as you find that balance between operating in God's power while doing what you are responsible for doing to seize the moment.
The first and most important fact to understand is that there is no failure when you are serving God. When two basketball teams play, one wins and one loses. In a golf tournament there is only one winner and the rest lose. We have been conditioned by our culture that you either win or lose. The fact is, when you are serving God, you can't lose. Let me say that once again, since this is very critical that you understand this . . . when you serve God, you can't lose!
Let me give you an example. The world judges success by numbers and dollars. The world would say a church with 5 members and no property or money in the bank is a failure. I am here today to tell you that if the heart of that pastor is to serve God, if he is preaching the uncompromised Truth of God's Word, if he is equipping his members to grow in their faith and serve the Lord with their lives, he and this church are a HUGE success in God's eyes regardless what the world says.
You see, God sees our heart. God knows our motives. When you have a heart that is pure and tender and you seek to serve and glorify God with your life, you can't fail. God will use your sacrifice for His glory, even though you may never see the results of your faithfulness. I remember many days and nights when I first started in the ministry over 16 yrs ago. I preached many times to 3 and 4 people. As I type these words today, I can honestly say I preached as hard and gave everything I had to those 3 and 4, as I have when there were thousands, or when millions read and hear what God is speaking through me each day now.
THERE IS NO FAILURE WITH GOD. YOU CAN'T FAIL WHEN YOU SERVE GOD!!!
Having established that fact, we are left with the question of how do we serve God? What can I do to serve the Lord? God calls each of us to serve in different areas in different ways. Each child of God has a specific calling upon their life. The first step is to realize that as a Believer you have been called by God and be willing to serve Him. That may not seem difficult, but I assure you that it is. You see, to serve God, you have got to be willing to give your life to Him. You have got to be willing to lay aside YOUR will for HIS will. You have got to be willing to lay aside YOUR desires for HIS desires. You have got to be willing to unconditionally give your life and all that you have completely to the Lord.
Believe it or not, this is the place most Christians get stuck. They want to serve God, they want their life to count for Christ, but the fact is, they really aren't willing to give up their lives for Him. Everyone wants to be blessed, but few are willing to pay the price to be blessed. Better say that again. Everyone wants to be blessed, but few are willing to pay the price to be blessed. The price I am talking about is obedience. God blesses our obedience, not our rebellion. We all want God's blessings in our life, but sadly, most aren't willing to pay the price . . . obedience . . . to receive those blessings.
The same is true with our service to the Lord. I believe most Christians want to serve God, but sadly, most aren't willing to pay the price to serve Him. Very few will be called to sell everything and move to some jungle in Africa, or called to quit your job and go work in some ministry, or spend your free time ministering to AIDS patients. God COULD call you to do any of those things, but the chances are He won't. Most people end up serving God right where they are at.
God put you in the neighborhood you live in, in the job you have, in the school you go to, meeting the people you do, in the course of your life . . . TO SERVE HIM! Your most basic form of service is simply being His light and His ambassador to the people you meet and interact with in the course of your day-to-day life. The most basic form of service that most FAIL to perform, is simply being His witness to the people who God brings into your life each day.
Remember I told you that you can't fail when you serve God? The only way you can fail is to NOT serve God!!!
After that basic level of service, each Believer is called to a more focused and specialized form of serving the Lord. This usually lines up with how God has wired an individual, what their passions and gifts are. The key is to get involved in some form in serving Him. Over time, God will guide you and open and close doors to have you right where He wants you to be, doing exactly what He wants you to do. Because He has given you the gifts, you will be able to do it; and because He has given you the passion, you will want to do it.
This next level of service will become part of your life. You will still have your job or go to school, you will still have your family responsibilities, you will still have your own personal relationship with the Lord, you will still have your hobbies and interests, but serving the Lord will also become part of your daily life and who you are as a follower of Jesus Christ. This seems petty basic but the reality is, most Believers don't serve God in ANY capacity,which is why Jesus said that "the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
I love you and care about you so much. I can't even begin to talk to you about "seizing the moment", until I get you to understand that service is not an option, but a requirement for the child of God. Nobody ever threw a touchdown pass, or sank a basket, or made a putt from the stands. You have to be on the field, in the game. As we live in these last days of human history, with the return of our Lord imminent, God needs ALL of His children serving Him with all they have each day.
Jesus shared many parables, especially near the end of his life, about the servant being faithful to the master, about being a good steward of what we have been given, about being prepared for the master to return. There was this emphasis by our Lord to teach the people, to encourage the people, to challenge the people to seize the moment. The men and women we read about in God's Word, the men and women throughout the history of the church whose names are forever etched in history, are all people who were first and foremost servants of God, but second of all, men and women who SEIZED THE MOMENT!
God is speaking to you today about giving up your very life to serve Him. He is calling you today to unconditionally surrender to Him so that He can use your life to fulfill His plan and purpose. Before you can seize the moment, you have to be on the battlefield serving Him with your very life. As you make that sacrifice, God will guide you, use you, and bring opportunities your way to use your life to bring honor and glory to Him. In the course of your service, there will come those sentinel moments when God raises you up, calls you forth, and gives you the opportunity to make your life count in a significant way for all eternity.
NOTHING YOU WILL EVER DO IN THIS LIFE WILL MATTER FOR ALL ETERNITY EXCEPT THOSE THINGS YOU DO FOR JESUS!
I am praying for you today. Praying that you will receive this word today and take some time to read it over and over and mediate on it. I pray that you will step up and answer God's call to serve Him. Serve Him in your daily life by being His witness to others you meet along your journey, serve Him by finding avenues of service that God will open up for you, and then be faithful as your life becomes a living sacrifice.
In the course of serving the Lord, there will come those precious moments when God will allow you to use your life to make an impact for all eternity. Never forget, there is no failure when you serve God. SEIZE THE MOMENT!!!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,