Philippians 3:8

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭9:23-24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

‭‭John‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭

John 17:3 makes a bold statement. It says knowing Christ is what life is all about. It is the thing. “Nothing else matters. Nothing in this world will do.” Jeremiah 9:23-24 goes even further by denouncing the prestige of worldly indicators of glory; wisdom, might, and wealth. These things pale in comparison to the source of true glory, knowing and understanding God. 
In Philippians chapter three this truth is modeled through the life of Paul. He certainly knew and understood God. Therefore he forsook all of his credentials, anything that brought him honor by worldly standards. Paul considered his earthly attainments as liabilities in God’s economy. He likened them to waste, rubbish, sewer, garbage. Now that I am aware of where glory really comes from, I shall seek to do likewise.
I will devote myself to the pursuit of intimacy with God. In continual prayer I am going to petition God for an insatiable knowledge and understanding of Him.

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Amos 3:3

“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”
Amos 3:3 NKJV
“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?”‭‭
Amos‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Jesus has agreed to meet me

Everyday every hour every moment I have breath

But I in my selfishness I leave God my creator bereft

“Spend time with me please, tell me your cares!”

But no I say, I’d rather be elsewhere
Working out my affliction by the strength of my hands

Searching for affirmation in the mouth of man

“Come to me” He says “I have a better plan”

Again, today I refuse. Do I not understand?
It appears that way looking at my actions

My flesh cannot stand in this land of distractions 

As I pander always to simple pleasures

I forsake the riches of my heavenly treasures 
“Trust in me, do not depart,

Delight yourself here, have the desires of your heart

Commit your way, your plans, whatever’s hard

Rest in the arms of the Almighty King your God”
“Meet with me let’s walk today

I have ears for all that you pray

Please, my child lay your burdens at my feet

Find your rest in my presence; be set free”
My spirit is empty, my bones have dried

No longer in my sufficiency can I reside

I’ll be trapped no more by the wiles of pride

In God, my deliverer, I will abide
Please meet with me, Father, I’m ready to walk

Tonight I will go to a place of desolation 

To lift my voice in worship my hands in praises

I am powerless, dear Lord, I have nothing left

I seek only your face; please be my rest

John 15:15

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”‭‭

John‬ ‭15:15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
The word of God really is active and living. John 15:1-17 is exactly what I need to hear right now. These past few days have run me down. Or maybe it’s an accumulation of fatigue from all the weeks previous. Either way, I am exhausted. All the inconvenience of living with sixty some people is starting to get to me. My inner monologue is labored with questioning and bitterness. I find myself wondering why I am living here in Antigua, Guatemala. Why am I subjecting myself to the authority of Potter’s Field? How does everyone else do it? Why are there only two washers? Will I ever have a warm shower again? Can I please just sleep? Will this sunburn go with me to the grave? Will I ever be caught up on homework? The flesh is indeed weak. I can no longer minister by it. My attitude is atrocious. I am failing to love my brothers and sisters. And then I read this passage. God speaks clearly to me, and all of my complaint slides away. I sit back, ashamed of my shallowness and listen as He says “of course you are exhausted. Of course you are failing. You can accomplish nothing by your own power. You need me and you have not asked for me. Do you remember what you experienced last weekend? Even this morning and afternoon? Have you already forgotten the joy that was wrought from loving all those children? The peace that was brought in ministering to them? That is why you are here, to allow me to use you. You are not my servant, you are my friend. I don’t need you, but because I love you I want you to be a part of my work. I want to bless you and let you be a blessing. So come back to me. Return to what matters. Let me be your rest. All you need to do is to ask.”
It’s astounding how comforting and convicting the word can be at the same time. He has convicted me of not loving him and doing things in my own strength. He has informed me that I need to be filled with his spirit in order to accomplish anything else: that I’ve reached the end of my carnal might. My next step must be to admit my complete and utter dependence on Him and to ask for His spirit, his strength. Thankfully He is also comforting me. He has invited me once again to dwell always in His presence and find my rest in Him. I will do so by visiting and meditating on Psalm 139 until I have memorized verses 23 and 24, because as of late they have always refreshed me.

Luke 17:5-10

“And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:5-10‬ ‭NKJV
If one endeavors to let the Lord increase their faith, they must hear the word. For Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Furthermore, if one is working hard to spend time in God’s word they ought to be open to receiving what the Spirit speaks, and gladly doing what He asks. If they agree to His calling they consent to the basic principles of Christianity which are laid out in this passage.‭

The interpretation I am sharing with you has been adapted from a teaching by Pastor Genarino Desteffano of Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, WA. He identified the experiences a Christian must contend with as such:

I. Thing Upon Thing 
We will be charged with accomplishing task upon task, oftentimes another thing will be asked of us before we have finished the first five. In this we ought to be open to observing and carrying out what God would have for us, no matter how rapid the succession. 

II. Not Thanked
Whatever you are tasked with, do it without receiving gratitude from the people in your arena. You don’t get thanked for doing your job. Moreover, “whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23). You ought not set your heart to glorify your flesh, but God, “knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance” (Colossians 3:24). Scripture makes it clear that our reward is in heaven from the father, not on earth from man. So be not mortally minded, but do your work in light of eternity.

III. Not Charging Overseer with Harshness
Philippians 2:14 tells us to “Do all things without complaining and disputing.” If that’s the case we need to be mindful of our attitude toward our supervisor, knowing that the way in which we operate serves as a witness for Christ. How perplexing it is to the world when someone does their work thankfully, silently, and diligently, regardless of their treatment. Consider also Jesus’ attitude during His ministry. Was He always thanked and treated fairly for His work? No, on the contrary He was ostracized, ridiculed, and eventually murdered for it. Yet we never saw Him grumble or argue with His lot. Remember your true over seer is the Lord above. You are a servant in His kingdom. Bearing that in mind, be faithful in your toil. Make a positive impact for the kingdom, not a negative one.
IV. Not Being Prideful

‭‭Successfully accomplishing the aforementioned tasks is dangerous. It is a miraculous feat to conquer mountains of work without praise or fair treatment day in and day out. Unfortunately we tend to attribute that impressiveness to the wrong source. In our delusion, we think we have done it in our own strength. We become self righteous. We start comparing ourselves to those around us, all the while forgetting that our work ethic is a miraculous feat. Only by the grace of God have we been able to do what we do how we do it. Do not forget that it is through His power, not ours.

V. Christianity 101
All of this is basic Christianity. It’s not being a super Christian, a cut above the rest. It’s how we all should be living. John the Baptist who did indeed live out Christianity 101 is oft quoted as saying “He must increase but I must decrease.” Strive for this, and if you do your result will be an increase in your faith! 

For those who are unaware, the plumbing here in Guatemala is not able to handle copious amounts of toilet paper. The waste is put into a bin that is shared between four people. It needs to be emptied daily. As a practical application from this passage I will take out the trash from my room every day for the remainder of my time here.