Passage has special significance for servants of the word

In his last paragraph of today’s devotional, Ed Mathews wrote about Ezekiel’s commission, using Ezek 2.5 as his main text:

“This passage has a special significance for ministers of the word. It shows them the rigors of their appointment, the boundaries of their task, and the source of their strength. It warns them against altering the message. It clarifies the purpose of their actions, Ezekiel 2:5. It validates the reason for being faithful to the end, II Corinthians 2:14-16.”

Focus question: How much does numerical success motivate my service in the Word, rather than faithfulness to the task?

The most confident is the most vulnerable

Today’s devotional by Ed Mathews includes this paragraph on the disciples’ abandonment of Jesus at his betrayal:

Neglect of prayer. During the prayer vigil in Gethsemane, Peter slept, Mark 14:37,38. Satan wanted to sift him like wheat, Luke 22:31,32. Peter did not understand the situation, Luke 22:33. The most confident was the most vulnerable. Jesus encouraged him to pray, Luke 22:40,46. Peter took a nap. He gave the devil an opening. He fell. He fell badly, Mark 14:66-72. Later, this same apostle wrote, “be alert,” I Peter 5:8.

Stay close to Jesus.

Focus question: What today has the potential to distance you from Jesus? Deal with it effectively.

Years of frustration

No truer word spoken than this, by Ed M., in his devotional for today in Plow New Ground:

Most of us do not face a brief hour of martyrdom but years of frustration.

See why he says this at the link above.

Focus question: What long-term frustrations do I deal with? How am I dealing with them? Are they causing my love for God to grow or diminish?

Ministry for God’s sake

The inspiration to volunteer. God is the electricity in spiritual commitment. His grandeur stirs the souls of men to serve. He is the fire that burns in the bones of the faithful, Jeremiah 20:9. The life blood of Christian ministry is “for His sake,” II Corinthians 4:5,11; 12:10; III John 7. The saints pray for such a single minded devotion to God, Psalms 51:12. They know the Lord is not satisfied with our gifts alone. He asks for our hearts, Proverbs 23:26. Like the apostle Paul, God does not want our possessions. He wants us! II Corinthians 12:14. Gifts are acceptable when the giver gives himself first, II Corinthians 8:5. Self-sacrifice pleases God. It is an act of worship, Romans 12:1. —Ed Mathews, Plow New Ground

How can I gauge my selfless giving? How can I give my heart wholly to God? How can I be stirred to serve God in all his grandeur?

Christians live to serve

Christians live to serve. We do so in quiet trust and humble obedience. We discharge our responsibility in common places and in simple tasks with redemptive power. We do what we can, II Corinthians 8:12.

So wrote Ed M., in today’s devotional, in his work, “Plow New Ground,” with 1 Cor 4.1 as main text.

Focus question: What can you do, right now, to serve God and point others to Christ?

Powerful phrases

These phrases come from today’s Plow New Ground devotional by Ed. M., about Abraham offering his son Isaac in Gen. 22.

  • [God] wanted an understanding of who He is more than He wanted burnt offerings, Hosea 6:6.
  • Faith is trusting God to provide what He promised.
  • We admire [Abraham’s] faith without trying to copy his obedience!
  • He sacrificed himself before he put Isaac on the altar, Romans 12:1.

Focus question: How do you show obedience to God above your own desires and emotions?

He waited for a word from heaven

Ed M. helps us understand David’s despair in 1 Sam 30.6 and how that serves as an example for us.

David did not ask God for a miracle. He did not plead for a legion of angels. He asked for advice. He waited for a word from heaven. Then he moved ahead, Psalms 16:7. Difficulties were overcome. Victories were won. All went well because everyone went with God. A few months later David was crowned king over the nation of Israel.

Focus question: What word of heaven comes to you today from the Scriptures? In your crisis, what does God say?

Not lost in the multitude

Ed M. reflects today on God’s goodness, saying among other things:

There is something very comforting about his goodness. He lovingly provides for our welfare. He constantly cares for our happiness. We are not lost in the huge multitude, hidden by the complexity of the world, or obscured by the vastness of space, Psalms 8:3,4.

Focus question: Does my conviction of God’s goodness endure in the midst of trials?