Greatness through Serving

Matthew 20:25-28 reads “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

I love this portion of scripture, as Jesus brings an earth-shattering truth to the forefront. Many desire to be great in the eyes of humanity and God. However, Jesus spoke forth a beautiful truth::whoever will be great, must be a servant.

If you look at the definition of the word “minister,” it means to run on errands, an attendant, a waiter [at a table or in other menial duties]. The word “servant” means subservient. And when Jesus states that the Son of man even came to minister, that means an attendant, to wait upon [menially or as a host, friend or teacher].

In our current structure [be it the church, workplace, family life, what have you], many believe that in order to gain you must be in front of the crowd, all eyes on you and carrying the loudest message. I beg to differ. Jesus simply stated that in order to be great [strong, mighty, exceedingly great], you must humble yourself and attend to others. If our Lord and Savior was an attendant, host and friend then why shouldn’t we be?

The most phenomenal closing to His statement is that because He was walking in a lifestyle of a minister [attendant, host, friend], He gave His life a ransom for many. I love the depth of the word ransom here::something to loosen with, a redemption price; to break, destroy, dissolve, melt, wreck, crack, a shattering to minute fragments, and to give vent to joyful emotions.

If, as a servant, Jesus brought the fullness of redemption and destruction of the hold of sin on the lives of men, then what can we accomplish in that same lifestyle of servant-hood?

Let us embrace a heartfelt attitude of serving others, not for the outcome of greatness, but knowing that our Lord Jesus walked in a life of serving.

“A great man is always willing to be little.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings,
Crystal

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Fault between thee

I would venture to say that our culture is largely based on competition and gossip, i.e. the idle talk or rumor of the personal affairs of another. Therefore, we have bred a society in which we turn to anyone [and everyone] to vent about an issue as opposed to going to the source. This is something that I see as a downfall of mine at times. It seems more simple to vent about “Susie” to my husband instead of going to her and admitting that what she said or did hurt me.
The gospel of Matthew says “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”
The word trespass in this portion of scripture simply means to miss the mark, to err, to offend or cause division. This has happened to all of us at one point or another. Our friend, family member, co-worker or a passerby has said or done something that missed the mark of what we expected of them. We seem to instantly take this to heart and begin to mull over the offense, which widens the division initially caused. Despite the fact that Christ is very clear about the proper order of things, we tend to do what comes most comfortably.

To avoid any confusion, I am speaking this to myself first. Saying, “hey Crystal, remember that Christ said to go to that person FIRST so that they could hear and understand your heart in the matter and you would gain them back into your life?” Out of division and into unity and harmony again. I love that, in Him, there is a perfect order for everything. [note that He even states what other actions to take if going directly to the source doesn’t work]

I see that Matthew Henry says, “If a professed Christian is wronged by another, he ought not to complain of it to others, as is often done merely upon report, but to go to the offender privately, state the matter kindly, and show him his conduct. This would generally have all the desired effect with a true Christian, and the parties would be reconciled. The principles of these rules may be practised every where, and under all circumstances, though they are too much neglected by all. But how few try the method which Christ has expressly enjoined to all his disciples! In all our proceedings we should seek direction in prayer; we cannot too highly prize the promises of God.”
And goes further to state, “We do not forgive our offending brother aright, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. How justly will those be condemned, who, though they bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of their brethren! The humbled sinner relies only on free, abounding mercy, through the ransom of the death of Christ. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from him.”

All in all, my time in the Word today was largely focused on this principle. It is one that many, both in the Church and out, struggle with. We must first see that Christ spoke this order, therefore we should adhere. We must then know the freedom from fear of speaking our heart to a brother, sister, mother, acquaintance. Once this occurs, unity among brethren will prevail.

Blessings,
Crystal

Know the sending

During my time in the Word today, I was focusing on Matthew 15.  Of course, many of us recall the dialog that Jesus had with the Canaanite woman needing deliverance for her daughter that was “grievously vexed with a devil”.  I have always loved how she spoke to Christ and reminded Him that even the dogs get to eat the crumbs from the master’s table.

But today, something else caught my attention.  In verse 24, it says But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Did you catch that?  He said I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  He knew EXACTLY who He was sent to.  Let’s look at that word “sent”.  In the Greek it is “apostellos” meaning to send, to separate out, to send on a mission.  But another definition is to be found.  It is “to be set at liberty.”

Wow!  So, this one little verse is opening up to me on two amazing levels.

  1. We need to seek Him and ask Him, WHO am I SENT to?  We need to know exactly what people group or region or state or even co-worker or family member that we are sent to minister to.
  2. When we are sent we are set at liberty and being sent on a mission to set others at liberty!  As we know who He is sending us to, it takes out all the guess-work and, to be frank, it takes the “me” out of the equation!  How liberating!!

I encourage you to spend some time before His feet and simply ask who it is that you are being sent to find and minister to.  He will show you and begin to burden your heart for them.  This can only lead to liberty –> for yourself AND for them!!

Seek Him, that you would know with a certainty who He has sent you to bless, minister to and set at liberty.

//Crystal//

Plain White Mugs

I have been known to be one that can’t overlook a great deal.  Recently, I stumbled upon some plain white coffee mugs that appeared to be “boring” as far as pattern but were so inexpensive that I just had to snatch them up.

Today, being inspired by a Christmas gift I received from Sisie, I got those white mugs out along with my bronze Sharpie marker and decided to add a simple decorative arrow to each one.  I also allowed my daughter to decorate one as well.

This is a great idea for any mugs you may have that are plain.  I love how it is so simple to do::you only need a Sharpie marker and an idea.  I also use a clear coat of protectant afterwards to ensure that the decor/pattern will last awhile. {be aware of microwave safety when doing so}

Here are the before & after photos, enjoy!

Crystal

Plain White Mugs::Before

Plain White Mugs::Before

After, including two that I touched up::changed from black to bronze

After, including two that I touched up::changed from black to bronze

My daughter::drawing her arrow

My daughter::drawing her arrow

My daughter::drawing her arrow

My daughter::drawing her arrow

After::one of a simple arrow I did, one that my daughter did

After::one of a simple arrow I did, one that my daughter did

don’t be frightened by the silence

We live in a society where we must always be heard.  We must always voice our opinion.  We must.  We must.  It has become more and more apparent to me that there is more beauty in silence than in boasting.  There is a finesse about holding back what you simply “must” share and, instead, just listening.

I submit to you the parallel of a band.  When there is a song to play, there are moments for a guitar solo or a specific piano melody.  If everyone plays simultaneously, then that melody will never be heard and the audience will leave knowing that they missed something.  Even if it was never known that there was to be that melody, its as though there is something within us that just knows.

“Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing.”~William S. Burroughs

There is most certainly a time to speak.  But I believe there are more times in which to be silent and exercise restraint of our words instead of “compulsively verbalizing”.  The ability to withhold words shows great maturity.  In youth, we believe that we know much and that everyone must hear our knowledge.  As we age and that is tempered, we see that there are many others that are more educated on the matter and why add to the noise?

Embrace the silence in your life.  Those are moments of great importance.  We will learn much from that silence.  Embrace the silence, for it too has a sound.

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.~Chaim Potok

 

Crystal

Beauty

Something came to me today.  Something I believe to be of great significance.  Something I believe will shape my approach in life.  Allow me to elaborate.

A very simple statement came to me today. “Enjoy bringing beauty to the lives of others today.”  Wow.  I am embracing this statement because if we approach life in this manner, it will greatly transform us.  Might we look at each and every interaction with the outlook that we are either bringing beauty to another or bringing ugliness to them?  Imagine if when we spoke to our husbands, wives, children, co-workers, friends, acquaintances…imagine if we determined to bring beauty to that interaction, to that conversation, to that moment.

Beauty –> possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc. delighting the senses or mind.  excellent of its kind. a work of art. grace. charm.

Can we aim to delight one another?  Can we aim to be that interaction in the day that caused the other to be satisfied and smile?  Can we aim to be excellent?

Can we believe that these moments in our day are a work of art?

 

I am challenging myself to enjoy bringing beauty to the lives of others each and every day.  Join the challenge.

Crystal

Season of Dreams

I would say that in the past 3-6 months, the amount of dreams I have had has significantly increased.  I am interpreting this to mean that God is releasing dreams during the night season and that our eyes and ears should be open to receive what He is speaking to us.  Here are a few tips on how to receive during this season:

  1. Keep a notebook and pen on your night stand.  If you wake up in the night and the dream you just had is shockingly fresh in your mind, chances are that there is some significance.  Write it down!  Every detail that comes, no matter how small it seems.
  2. The next day or sometime that week, re-read the dream.  As you do so, circle the items that stand out as significant.  Or you can take a separate sheet of paper to make this in list form.
  3. Pray and then allow the Holy Spirit to take you through scripture to see how your dream aligns.  Remember that in one dream there can be many factors –> God, us, our day, a movie we watched, eating a weird dinner before bed, etc.  So, ultimately we must ensure that what we are seeing is from Him and lines up with His Word.
  4. Pray and ask God what symbolism is to be taken away from the dream.  Many of us can go crazy with symbolism.  We may interpret a clown in the dream to mean that we are too vain and wearing too much make up…when the clown was simply part of the circus we were at in the dream!  Tread carefully and with much discernment.
  5. Submit the dream to any women’s groups, friends, accountability partners or leadership for further interpretation.  There are those that specifically have the gift of interpreting dreams.  If you know someone like this, pester them with your dreams!  Be sure to only receive those interpretations that “bear witness” in your spirit!
  6. Continue to review your dreams.  Try to keep a folder, binder or notebook designated for dreams.  Take that out and re-read them every month or so if possible.  Many times God releases a dream for a future season in the “now” so that we are warned and/or made aware.

 

I encourage you to apply even one of these principles the next time you have a dream that just captivates your heart and mind.  You will be surprised at how God can use that to lead, direct and encourage you!  Don’t fall victim to the lie that God can’t or doesn’t communicate to us today through dreams and visions.  James Goll said it well when he said that God is the Master Dream Weaver!

Crystal

“Through dreams God communicates directly with us concerning our destiny as well as the destinies of our families, our nation, and our world. Many people today, particularly in the Western culture, never recognize God speaking to them in this way because they have been conditioned by a skeptical and sophisticated society to discount the language of dreams. Within our own generation, God is reconnecting us to a vital part of our spiritual heritage.” ~James Goll