Friday, March 23, 2012

Ultimate Humility

“And being found in the appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

and became obedient to death

even death on a cross.”

Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

“. . . he humbled himself. . . .” Jesus’ attitude was unlike any we have seen. He allowed Himself to be taken from the garden of Gethsemane, away from those who followed and loved Him. The soldiers removed Him to a place where He received beatings, scourging, and the highest form of disrespect-they spat upon Him. Before his agony was over, the soldiers had gambled for His clothing. The soldiers also mocked him, saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

“. . . and became obedient to death. . . .” Our Lord obeyed the Father; accepted God’s will and submitted to the ultimate sacrifice. He gave His very life in order that you and I might live with God forever.

“. . . even death on a cross.” Execution on a cross was a horrible death, reserved for the most heinous of criminals. It seems ironic that Jesus Christ, the only perfect person to walk this earth, would have to endure this kind of treatment. But God chose to allow this to happen. I wonder; did God permit this to come about in this way in order for all of our sins, no matter how horrible, to be covered by Christ’s blood?

Dear Jesus:

We thank You for the sacrifice You gave on the cross for us. We want to live worthy of Your selfless act. We praise You for who You are. In Jesus’ name, we pray. AMEN

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nature of a Servant

“. . . but made himself nothing, taking the very nature

of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:7 (NIV)

“. . . made himself nothing,” Jesus chose to not play up his heavenly position he left for the likes of us. Could we envision it, Jesus telling Mary Magdalene in a haughty attitude that He was the Son of the King and He came down from heaven and all he found were sinners, thieves, and prostitutes? I think not.

“. . . the very nature of a servant” He came to Earth to save us and to serve us. God planned it for Jesus to preach and to enlarge His Kingdom. But in order to do this the Son took it upon Himself to serve those who were close to Him.

God’s children should follow His example. They aren’t to bandy it about that they are Christians. His spiritual children are to let their lives and ways show it. Their beliefs will come through to those to whom they minister.

It’s the small things in life that seem to matter to people. Jesus rewards people who band together to meet a need. A friend told a group of us that she read a story about a small bunch of people who did an astounding deed. The lesson that came through was “People can do anything, as long as no one cares who gets the credit.” That’s one reason we give glory to God.

He came to Earth to save us and to serve us. God planned it for Jesus to preach and to enlarge His Kingdom. But in order to do this the Son took it upon Himself to serve those who came across His path. Jesus became a servant to His followers and to us. As we emulate Him we are to learn to serve others.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Authentic in Nature

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality

with God something to be grasped,” Philippians 2:6 (NIV)

Jesus chose not to boast that He was God’s Son. He went about what He was supposed to do while on Earth. Jesus didn’t laud it over the ones He met.

I worked with a lady who had earned a doctorate in education and could have insisted that she be called ‘Doctor’ but she introduced herself with her first name. She had been in education before she took the job at the library. Her advanced degree studies were in reading education. If you didn’t see her name tag, you didn’t know she possessed three earned degrees. She knew her job, did it well, and was likable as a person.

We see people who wish to be treated as regular, in spite of their advancements. Some pastors answer to their title; some seem comfortable being called by their first name. I had a counselor who possessed a PhD who told me to call him by his given name. I felt comfortable with him.

In walking through our world, we want to appear genuine to those we meet. We try to do this in ways that don’t burden those we are trying to get to know. Coming from a background that is difficult for me to talk about, I prefer not to tell all my deep feelings about things in my past. But I try to be pleasant and understanding of other people’s situations.

As children of God, we are not exempt from the travails of this life. We should always try to realize that we are no different than the next person we meet on the street, in the stores, or at the doctor’s office.

In the late 1960s there was a television comedian who had a one line thought that seemed to bring a lot of laughs. He’d look into the camera and say, “What you see is what you get.” As I reflect on his words, I realize this phrase of his sums up the idea of authenticity in a way that makes it clear that we are to be transparent before all we meet.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...