4 Ways to Serve God with a Thankful Heart

wmzimcpPsalms 116 gives us more than reasons why God is good. It also shows us how, knowing God is good, to pay it forward. The last part of the psalm presents ways to serve God (and eventually others) with a thankful heart. Here are four of them that David did and we should follow these examples.

Acknowledge God’s mercy in our salvation (v. 13) – This is the first step in serving God thankfully. Like the cup people raised in special occasions, we uphold gratitude towards God by remembering His saving grace toward us undeserving sinners. Think about how God planned your salvation way back before the foundations of the world.  Then look at the extend God had done to His Son Jesus for you to be saved. Acknowledging God’s salvation to you might be enough to cultivate a heart brimful of thanksgiving and moving you to serve. Keep that tucked in your heart every time you serve Him.

Consider our commitment and plans for God (vs. 14 & 18)- What are your commitments to God? Do you set plans, ambitions or goals for God? Paying vows is like that. Not only will it challenge your faith to step to the next level but it will make your maturity grow. As vows committed in the Bible takes matured people to think of it and accomplish it, so will you if you seek to consider it. Of course you do pray, worship, read the Bible and share the gospel, having plans for God is intentionally setting aside something that will glorify Him. We look at our lives we plan and set goals for that vacation, that car or our children’s future. Can we do that to God too?

Have a continuous dependence to God (vs. 13 & 17) – If you look closely at the two verses, you can see that phrase “and call upon the name of the Lord” was mentioned twice. This is not just a prayer of supplication but it shows David’s continuous dependence with God.   Do you continue to ask God to help you? You should because He is glorified in our constant asking. The more we ask the more we grow in dependence to God. And that’s already service to God! Will you consistently seek Him in your journey to this life?

Put your involvement with God in public (vs. 18 & 19) – God had shown you the ultimate “public display of affection” through Christ hanging in the cross. Now it’s our turn to show another ultimate PDA. It’s living the life God intended for you to reflect His glory.   It starts by going to church. Show how you want to serve Him by listening, praising, praying and worshiping Him, with fellow believers in the church. As you root yourself in the presence of the believers and God, eventually your “publicness” with God will eventually flow to your family, work and other parts of your life.  As Matthew 5: 14- 16 puts it:

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Service to God starts with the right disposition of the heart. Having that kind of heart will help us navigate in the different phases of our ministry. A thankful heart matters to God as you serve Him and others.

The Quotable Round-Up #37

For this week we are featuring quotes from J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith’s latest book titled “Rooted”. Hope you’ll like it and please pick up a copy.

“The church, Christ’s body, is called to live now in the light of the future.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Everlasting forgiveness is found with Jesus, by faith alone in his death for our sins and in his resurrection from the dead.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“When sin entered the world, God didn’t turn a blind eye. In his justice and mercy, he’s provided the Savior.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“What we need today is a gospel-minded bucket list. In eternity, you won’t be able to travel to Thailand and tell unreached peoples about Jesus. You won’t be able to give your money to pro-life movements. You won’t be able to evangelize your friends and family members, urging them to look to Jesus. That’s for now. Today. Right now. This is the mindset we need today.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“True worship is glorifying God in all of life—to the perimeters and edges of life.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“If you have a paralyzing fear of death, you are living as one who has no hope. You are living with a bad eschatology.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Christians have no need to fear death because we are going to be raised from the dead, joining Jesus in a resurrection like his.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Now, our greatest accomplishment is something we didn’t do, but rather something that’s been done for us and in us. We boast in Jesus’s cross.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

 

The Quotable Round Up #15

Books do draw crowds in the recently concluded MIBF last September at the MOA SMX. Bookworms unite as we indulge ourselves over books that are on sale. I bought some and others are complimentary copies for book review. So I have books that will keep me occupy till next year! Anyways, MIBF did deliver the best book event for this year. How I wish I could attend those free seminars and workshop, attend the book signing of my favorite authors and buy more books. Nevertheless we had an amazing time. There are lots of things to improve with the event especially for the Christian publishers. Maybe it’s time for them to give out evangelism freebies to their customers. Maybe it’s time for them to publish books that tackle doctrine that is badly needed today. I think it’s high time for them to think on what they can do to reach other booths that present a false gospel. I want to see also the unity of the Christian publishers to heed in to action to be the light on that event. We Christians will shine brightest in the MIBF in the coming years if we come and unite to reach out those who are lost.
“Our aim in studying the Scriptures is not merely to know more ancient history or to learn useful life principles, but rather to be brought to see in a new way the glory of God in Jesus Christ and to bow our hearts before him in adoration and praise.”
— Iain M. Duguid

“The good news of Christ’s death and resurrection is not merely the power by which dead sinners are raised to new life—it is also the power by which God’s people are transformed into new creatures in him.”
–Iain M. Duguid

“Who does God exalt? He exalts those who fear His name. God exalts those who approach Him with reverence, self-emptiness, and ownership of their spiritual bankruptcy. And when godly fear humbles us, God in His mercy will exalt us.”
–Matt Chandler

“The incarnation was not so much a subtraction as it was an addition; the eternal second person of the Trinity took on Himself a human nature and joined His divine nature to that human nature for the purpose of redemption.”
— R. C. Sproul

“In eternity before creation, the Father initiated the concept of redeeming the creation He knew would fall. He designed the plan of redemption. The Son was given the assignment to accomplish that redemption. The Holy Spirit was tasked with applying Christ’s work of redemption to God’s chosen people.”
–R. C. Sproul

“If it were left to me to persevere in my Christian walk, I would fall and stumble in a moment. The One who really perseveres is God. He perseveres with His children and thereby preserves them. One of the chief ways in which God preserves His people is through the priestly intercession of Jesus.”
–R. C. Sproul

“The Father raised Jesus by the power of the Spirit, not simply for His own vindication, but for us. He was the first to be raised in this manner, being brought forth in a glorified state, but He will not be the last. Everyone who is in Christ Jesus will share in this resurrected glory. This is our hope. This hope is at the very heart and center of the Christian faith.”
— R.C. Sproul

6 Things the Gospel is NOT

Here are some common misconceptions about the gospel today. If Jesus Christ will ask you what the gospel is, what will your reply will be?

  1. The gospel is NOT about going to heaven– that’s half the story. The gospel is getting God Himself and making much of Him.
  2. The gospel is NOT about good works– good works salvation nullifies the saving grace of God and gives man warrant to boast there achievement to the face of His Creator. If salvation by works is true, then how much work does it need for you to be saved?
  3. The gospel is NOT about religion– I hear a lot of people taking about religion as if their religion suffered and died on the cross. Religion was mention a few times in the Bible sometimes in a negative light and has nothing to do about salvation. For those people I direct you to Psalms 22 and 53.
  4. The gospel is NOT about prosperity– many popular preachers today preach that if you accept Jesus you will be wealthy and healthy. That’s good but it’s unbiblical. Also you’ll end up blaming God for not having what you want.
  5. The gospel is NOT having good character– humility, selflessness, altruism are by means good traits. Man should have these characteristics. But that is not the gospel and it won’t even guarantee you everlasting life.
  6. The gospel is NOT about you– the gospel is all about Christ. It’s about God’s mercy and grace. You don’t have any part from election to glorification.

So what is the gospel? The gospel is about Jesus Christ and his finished work in the cross. You can’t add or lessen it. All you have to do is accept it as a gift. Looking at yourself by God’s standard (The 10 Commandments) you find that you can’t measure up. God is holy and just. And you’re not. God call it sin. It’s our rebellion against Him. Every sin we committed (will commit) deserves eternal separation. That’s why there is hell. But God is so rich in mercy he made a way for us to be saved. He sends Jesus Christ to die on our behalf that we might stand blameless before God. We don’t deserve mercy. God won’t accept you unless you repent and believe the gospel.  Cry for His mercy today. You won’t be guaranteed another day.

(Originally from my Facebook Notes, 1 September 2011)

Book Review: The Attributes of God: A Journey into the Father’s Hear Vol. 1 t by A.W. Tozer

It’s such a blessing to be able to read great books. I got two of them last week at PCBS (Philippine Christian Bookstore). One is “The Attributes of God” by A.W. Tozer and the other is the much anticipated book by John Piper simply titled “Think”. I’ll post a book review on Pipers book by next week, but for now, let’s put “The Attributes of God” into the fray.

When books about doctrine comes to our minds we dismiss it as an avalanche of cold theological jargons ready to make rampage which those made of steel theologians on ivory towers will appreciate. But not with this book by Tozer. Leaping out of the beginning pages are his joy over these attributes. I think Tozer, when delivering these series of sermon (for which this book came), is enthusiastically ecstatic over the pulpit. It’s a surprise for me to find how joy on these subjects from the early chapters of this book. Christian Hedonism anyone?

While the subject of attributes is something hard for us to grasp, Tozer puts forth his fatherly pastoral care in painstakingly letting you comprehend it not just by mind but by your heart. He is gladly serving solid scriptural food but he carefully “mashes” it up for you to easily digest it, without losing its vital “nutrients” essential for the Christian. Being spoon feed by Tozer of these subjects doesn’t let you stay dependent on letting him feed you all the way rather makes you want to grab the spoon and feast on the spiritual meal yourself.

Tozer doesn’t just put forth his fatherly love over this book but still maintain the “20th century prophet” mark in every page. He reproves the church that need to know more about God and be sensitive over Him. Also sprinkled with solid biblical teaching that will reinforce subjects like salvation and many others. Such a sweet blend of these styles of conveying doctrine makes your read a delight for the mind and heart.

Just a reminder though, like any journey there are some uphill climb and rugged terrain for readers. As you walk to chapters you’ll find some of it. However, in the end of it all, a bright horizon awaits everyone who makes patience a virtue. Half of the book is a study guide prepared by David Fessenden.

Notable Quotes:

“Justice is not something that God has. Justice is something that God is.”

“Mercy, however, is God’s goodness confronting human guilt, whereas grace is God’s goodness confronting human demerit.”

“When the grace of God becomes operative through faith in Jesus Christ then there is the new birth.”

“The judgment of God is God’s justice confronting moral inequity and iniquity.”

“The goodness of God is the only valid reason for existence, the only reason underlying all things.”

“If God was willing, it was the happy willingness of God.”

“Christianity is a gateway into God.”

I commend OMF for putting out this book because this kind of truth is badly needed for the church today. We need to know Him more than anything to draw near to Him and find everlasting joy. Available at National Bookstores and Philippine Christian Bookstores for P 250.00 get your copies now.