To share ‘how your serving is coming’ could feel a little braggadocious, but here’s why I love to encourage the lifestyle of serving. It’s not to give us a platform to brag…heavens no! It’s to give a platform to show how the life of service is bringing glory to God and is THE most liberating way to live! It’s Jesus who said, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” Mark 10:45
Capturing every moment of home simply begins with the attitude of Christ in us – we are not here to be served, but to serve!
There was a time in my life when I battled overwhelming fear. That fear quickly translated into debilitating anxiety. I say debilitating because it took over how I would respond or react to pretty much everything around me. The stronghold of fear and anxiety was so strong, that I knew to overcome … to just get it gone from my life … there had to be more, more power, than I could muster up on my own. There had to be more defeating strength at work in me than I had simply by ‘talking to myself” or trying to mentally switch gears. I had to have God’s resurrection power at work enabling me to rise up and out and above my fears and live free to soar with wings as eagles. I knew only by God’s mighty right hand could I be truly liberated from the anxiety that seemed to plague my days.
How did HE, and I give Him all the praise, but how did HE free my life from not only a medication that I had been given, but free from a mental and emotional prison – that kept me bound and isolated from living? Living life to the fullest?
It was by opening my eyes one morning during my time alone with Him, to see the power and the promise He was making to me found in these verses:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
Then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” Isaiah 58:6-9a
I had real oppressive chains, cords and yokes burdening and crippling my life from living day after day in the joy of the Lord. But the morning the Holy Spirit took me to Isaiah 58:6-9a, is the morning that a light of the brightest kind burst into my soul…and y’all, I began to see what He wanted me to see. That I could not live the “Then’s” until I stepped into the obedience of the previous verses.
To share with those in need.
To provide for those who I could provide for.
To clothe, to care, to help, to give, … ultimately, to serve those He was putting right in front of my face – day after day.
I began to see that God was putting 24 hours of opportunity in front of me each day to serve. To be of help and to care for and to give to folks in my home and outside of my home…day after day. But He was also answer my prayers for freedom…for total freedom from what had me bound. He wanted me too see the connection in those opportunities – they were also the means to my own healing. Serving = healing
He knew that I had been chained up, tied up and oppressed by the enemy of my life. That Satan had been given a time to sift me as wheat, but on this particular morning — God said, “Times up!!”
THIS is the life of fasting He calls us to. To fast from self-centeredness, from so much self-awareness, and from self-concern….and instead, feast on the life of servanthood.
Because when we do, look what follows – THEN, your light breaks forth as the dawn. There becomes this new fresh and brighter outlook to your days. THEN, your healing comes….quickly, it says! Mental, emotional and spiritual healing rushes into your soul like a tsunami! THEN, your righteousness (right living with God) will pave your way and the promise is that the God of glory will secure your passage. THEN, you will call and the Lord will answer. You will cry for help and He will say….”I am right here. Right with you.”
My prayer was simple that morning. “Lord, help me to live in the Then’s.”
Our children need to know the serving lifestyle because the our world is making sure they are surrounded by plenty of other messages targeted at glamorizing another lifestyle — “self-gratification, self-pride, self-consumed, trophied ‘self-on-the-shelf’ messages” – So, as I combed through some great blogs, I found this great encouragement in just how to shepherd their hearts as “servers” on this world:
The best way to teach your child to be service-oriented is for you to be actively seeking out ways to serve. Our children learn primarily by example and they will repeat what they see in us.
Next, talk about why it is important to serve others. For our family, this meaning is deeply rooted in Scripture. We serve others in love (Galatians 5:13) because Jesus was the ultimate servant, laying down His life as a ransom so that we could experience freedom from sin and eternal life (Mark 10:43b-45).
Finally, ask your child to think of ways to serve. Brainstorm together a list of service projects around your home, for your family, and in the community.
Important note: I try to communicate to my children that serving is not easy. I would prefer to be at home with my feet up. I like having my stuff packed away in closets. Material possessions and the warmth of our home brings me feelings of comfort and security. However, Jesus did not have a comfortable, secure life. He gave in the most uncomfortable way. Likewise, we should give to others.
Ideas for Young Children
Make homeless blessing bags
Color a picture to give to community helpers
Make a thank you card for the church custodian
Clean out their bookcase and donate books they have “outgrown” in good condition to the church or local library
Help box canned goods for the local food bank
Deliver flowers to the residents of a nursing home
Dust (knick-knack free surfaces) for a busy or sick relative
Pick up litter at a local park
Make a silly video (with some parental help) to give to an elderly relative
Help do the dishes
Ideas for Older Children
Walk the neighborhood with a wagon to collect canned goods for a local food bank
Collect coats and blankets to give to a local shelter
Design and laminate bookmarks to leave in the local library
Write a play with friends or siblings to perform at a nursing home
Clean the yard of an elderly neighbor
Push stray carts to the designated holding areas in a supercenter parking lot
Sew teddy bears to donate to a local children’s hospital
Write a letter to mail to military serving overseas
Read books aloud to younger children at the local library
Volunteer a few hours at a local pet shelter
Collect personal items and baby necessities for a local women’s shelter
Gather items to have a silent auction benefiting a local hospital
Bake cookies to hand out at a local soup kitchen
Hand out homeless blessing bags to an area shelter (with adult supervision)
Go caroling at a local hospital or retirement community
Volunteer at a local food bank to help put together food baskets
Donate time to babysit for a couple that needs a date night
Help a younger sibling clean their room
Make ornaments for the Christmas tree at a nursing home
*all the above, I found at www.meetpenny.com
So please don’t feel you are being braggadocios by giving God praise in how HE IS SERVING through your willingness to obey because honestly, …
“When you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” Luke 17:10
Living In the Then’s,