Serving the Lord :: By Matt Leasher

Many born-again Christians have a difficult time determining how they can serve the Lord.  This is especially true with those that are new to the faith. Before we examine this subject, let’s remind ourselves of our Lord’s commandment as to what He wants us to do after we have accepted Him as our Savior.

[Jesus said,] “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Amen.

The above Scripture is commonly referred to as the Great Commission and is also found in Mark 16:15.  It is important to notice that Jesus told us what to do but He didn’t specifically tells us how to do it.  This is because He wants each and every one of us to use our personal specific talents that He has given us to get the job done.

Too many people are stuck in the rut thinking that they must attend seminary school to be qualified to serve the Lord, and go out and make disciples. While seminary school may have its benefits, it really isn’t a qualification that the Lord commanded for His disciples to be able to serve Him.  In fact, once we have become born-again Christians, we have then immediately become His servants and the Lord isn’t looking for people that are qualified, He is looking to qualify people that are willing!

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9a).

The willingness to serve the Lord is driven by a newfound desire to seek the things that please the Lord rather than living our lives with the desire to please ourselves.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

The above passage is often used out of context as a prosperity message disregarding the first line about “delighting yourself in the Lord.” When we become born-again Christians we become delighted with the Lord’s precepts and replace our own plans for our lives with His plans for our lives. This in turn relieves us of the pressure of meeting our own goals by our own power and places our objective in serving the Lord by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

There are many people that proclaim to be Christian yet they are still offended by many of the Lord’s precepts.  For these folks, serving the Lord becomes very difficult because they have not allowed the Lord to mold them into who He wants them to be and have instead created their own personal stumbling blocks.

A prime example of this that has become all too prevalent in our world today is the large amount of homosexual church leaders that have sprung up trying to defend their sinful lifestyles while attempting to be serving the Lord at the same time. Not only are they misleading others but they have completely ignored the fact that homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).  These folks are doing far more damage than good and have not delighted themselves in the desires of the Lord—but rather their own desires.

This scenario is being repeated throughout the church with many other sins as well.  This does not mean that we can’t serve the Lord being sinners, as we are all still sinners even after we are saved. However, it does mean that we should never be complacent with our sins to the point that we make it seem like God is okay with it, and suddenly we find ourselves encouraging others to sin rather than be washed from sin by the blood of Christ.

If we are struggling with sin, rather than compromising in sin, then we can still be an effective tool for serving the Lord.  Struggling with sin is actually a good thing and we should all have

the attitude expressed by Paul in Romans chapter seven.  Throughout that chapter Paul is clearly struggling with still being a sinner, however his heart remains immersed in the desires of the Lord, (v. 22).

The Lord is compassionate toward our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15) and will always work with someone that has a humble and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 illustrates how the Lord will work with and use sinful people to accomplish His good will.  The common denominator among the patriarchs mentioned in that chapter is faith!  Faith is the bond between saved sinners and our holy Lord, for without faith it is impossible to please the Lord (Hebrews 11:6).

There are many Christians that dwell on the opposite end of the spectrum of sin compromise, and feel as though they are not worthy to serve the Lord because of their sinfulness. They become paralyzed thinking that the Lord is always angry at them and they live in shame and fear. However, the Lord Jesus Christ removed our shame of sin when He paid our debt and if we confess our sin daily to the Lord then He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

This was the entire concept of Jesus washing the “feet” of the apostles.  The apostles were already “clean” (minus Judas), by their faith but they needed their feet washed so that their “walk” with the Lord would be pure.  In other words, they needed the Lord’s cleansing on a daily basis in order to serve Him properly. They couldn’t wash their own feet.

The Lord wants to be involved in our service for Him. Our loving Father doesn’t just bark out demands and keep a tally of how well we execute His orders. No, our Lord works with us via the Holy Spirit and He even equips us with the tools (talents) we need to do His will.

This brings us to our next dilemma that often prevents Christians from serving the Lord effectively; and that is not knowing what or how to personally serve the Lord.  Far too many Christians spend too much time waiting for a “sign” from the Lord as to what they think He may want them to do—when in reality most people can use what they’ve been doing even before they got saved as their way of serving the Lord.  Only now, it is done unto Him!

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Notice that that passage starts off saying “whatever you do.”  Are you an auto mechanic?  Perhaps there is an elderly woman on your street having car problems that you could give a free helping hand to? Are you a doctor or a nurse? Perhaps there are sickly people in your circle of friends and family you could help out. Are you an artist? Perhaps you could create artwork that honors the Lord and portrays the Truth of His Word. Do you see where I’m going with this?

It doesn’t have to be your profession either. Are you a people person? Perhaps there is someone at your church or someone you know who is lonely, depressed or grieving that you could give an ear to and some encouragement. Do you have a heart for the poor and homeless? There are plenty of homeless shelters that could use volunteers; plenty of poor people in the world that need help!  If you are financially blessed then you could find a reputable source for donating to the needy.

All of this is serving the Lord! In fact, the second greatest commandment given by our Lord Jesus Christ was, “love your neighbor as yourself”(Matthew 22:39).

The first greatest commandment of course is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

The parallel passage from Luke 10:27-38 includes the story of the “Good Samaritan” and makes it clear that our neighbor isn’t just the person that lives next door.

Notice that we must first love the Lord with all our hearts before we can be rewarded for loving our neighbor. Again, this is because the Lord wants to be involved in our service. There are many kind-hearted atheists out there that have good intentions and do good service toward others but the one thing missing is the presence of Christ shining through them in their service.

As long as anyone is living in rebellion against God, there is nothing they do on earth that will bring them eternal rewards. But we do not serve the Lord simply for the rewards either. We serve the Lord because of the newness of life that we have been given (Romans 6:4), and our desire to  that His will be done.

There are many Christians that will not see rewards they thought they were getting and there are many Christians that will get rewards they never thought they earned.  For those that are humbly submitted to the Lord on a daily basis, they fall into the second category. When we are living a life completely devoted to the Lord we aren’t even thinking about rewards.

Does a soldier on the battlefield think about the medals of honor he may be getting while in battle? No, he is too busy fighting the enemy and caring for his brothers. This is the same for the Christian soldier.  If we are truly busy serving the Lord and fighting the good fight then rewards aren’t even a thought.

There is one service for the Lord that is very often neglected and not even thought of as a “service” and that is prayer. There are those that aren’t able to physically serve the Lord due to physical handicaps, poverty, age or whatever it may be. For those people, prayer is not only an option but a very powerful and effective form of service. It has been said that faith may move mountains but prayer moves the hand of God.

Many may ask how is prayer a form of service since most people consider prayer only a personal experience between them and the Lord. While this is true, there is also intercessory prayer (praying for others), and that is found all throughout the Bible. One of the most dedicated examples of someone using prayer as a service can be found in the person of Anna the prophetess, in Luke 2:36-38.

The Scriptures tell us that she had been widowed for 84 years and did not depart from the temple the entire time, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day, (v. 37).  Now that is what I call a prayer warrior!

Serving the Lord doesn’t start with our hands or even our minds. It starts with our hearts. When our hearts are aligned with the Lord we almost can’t help but serve Him. It comes as natural as loving and serving a spouse. Perhaps that is why the church is the bride of Christ. A bride serves her husband and a groom serves his bride.

To think that Christ Jesus in all His glory and majesty is willing to work with us through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit—to help us serve Him so that we may receive rewards even after He has already willingly died for our sins, is the greatest example of love and grace that has ever been seen in all of history. And it will never be trumped. Is it any wonder why the saints will cast their crowns at His feet when we are gathered together at the Throne? He did it all and He deserves it all!


Being Made Upright :: By Matt Leasher

Ever since the 1960s our nation has been experiencing a steady decline in morality and godly living and this decline has been at a rapid pace in just the last few years.  In days of old, an upright person would be considered one that is a church going Christian that obeys the Bible and believes what it says and lives out what it says.  But in today’s world that is no longer the view of what an “upright” person is.

Our current society seems to measure what an upright person is by whatever is politically correct at the time, regardless of what the Word of God says about what defines an upright person. In all trueness the Bible says that from the outset of everyone’s lives, no one is good!

“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”  So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Mark 10:17-18)

Jesus revealed a hard truth to this young ruler in that there is not, and has never been, one good person born into this world.  Of course, Jesus Christ is the only perfect Man that has ever been born of a woman, but He remained humble and didn’t even boast about His perfection to this young ruler.

The majority of people in this world do not recognize their fallen condition and Satan has many people fooled to think that they are born into this world deserving of heaven, but the Bible tells us that we are born in sin.

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)

Before I continue on, I want to make it clear that the biblical concept of being born in sin does not mean that babies and young children go to hell if they were to die before reaching an age of accountability.

For one thing, God does not send anyone to hell, people send themselves to hell when they reject the pardon that was provided by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and babies and little children are not able to make that choice.

God obviously knows this and that is why Jesus said that “the kingdom of heaven is theirs” while He was blessing the children. (Matthew 19:14; Luke 18:16).

Paul also made it clear in Romans 7 that there is a time in a person’s youth when they are not held accountable for sin before they can even understand what sin is.

“At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died.” (Romans 7:9-10a NLT )

Once we are old enough to understand sin then spiritual death enters us and we need to be cured!  That cure can only be obtained when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

When David wrote in Psalm 51:5 that he was born in sin, he understood that sin also has a physical consequence, even before we can understand it, and that we are born with bodies of corruption that will perish at any age. However, our souls (minds), have to first be developed before we can be accountable to sin and our souls are our eternal being, not our bodies.

Jesus also said that the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs for those that are poor in spirit, (Matthew 5:3). To be “poor in spirit” means to recognize our spiritual bankruptcy before a holy perfect God. This is the first step to repentance before  we can receive the salvation that Christ offers. Sadly, there are far too many people that fail to recognize their fallen state.

I recently seen an interview with Carlos Santana where the interviewer asked him what song he would like played at his funeral (not that he would even hear it anyway). Carlos replied, “As long as it isn’t Amazing Grace because I’m not a wretched sinner.”

This is a prime example of someone that is NOT poor in spirit. I pray that Carlos realizes his fallen condition and recognizes his need for the Savior before he has to stand before his Lord at either the Judgment or after his last breath.

On the surface, Carlos may seem like an upright man, along with many others, but this is only by the world’s standards. But the world that we are born into is itself – upside down. Not literally of course, but morally. Man has been governing this world since the Tower of Babel and since then it has been nothing but corrupt governments waging war against each other whose man-made laws do not agree with their own. When Christ comes, there will be only one law, (His), and no war!

Since each one of us are born in sin into this upside down world of sin, perhaps that is the reason that we come out of the womb upside down? Almost as if God

is showing us that we all need to be turned right side up! Not physically, but spiritually.

In fact, the meaning of the word “repent” is “to turn around” or “a change of mind”.  When we repent to the Lord Jesus Christ we are turning from our natural instinct to sin and asking Him to renew our minds to a thought process that is obedient to His (Romans 12:2).

One of the biggest obstacles to repentance is pride. Many people don’t think they need to repent and that they are of upright stature based on their own self-righteousness or the world’s morality.

“Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)

In John 3:5 Jesus said that “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Essentially, what Jesus is saying here is that first someone must be physically born into this world (of water), but then they have to repent, by their own will, to be born-again of the Spirit.

Without that second birth, they will not see the kingdom of God and in turn will experience the “second death” spoken of in Revelation 20:6. As the old saying goes, “born twice – die once, born once – die twice.”

Adam and Eve were the only two mortals that never came out of a womb.  Adam was created from the earth and Eve was created from Adam’s rib. At the time of their creation the world had not yet fallen under the curse of sin making Adam and Eve the only two mortal beings that were “upright” from the outset of their lives (see Ecclesiastes 7:29).

When Adam and Eve fell into sin their spirits were then turned upside down and they lost their righteousness before God. (Righteousness in the Bible is equated to uprightness).

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. (Deuteronomy 32:4)

“Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments. (Psalm 119:137)

While the Bible does not directly clarify that Adam and Eve got saved, it tells us in Genesis 3:15 that Adam and Eve heard the Lord promise a Savior and in Genesis 3:21 the Lord made garments of skin as a covering for Adam and Eve.

This is recognized as the first animal sacrifice, and was likely given to Adam and Eve as a result of their repentance, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22).

It was at this point that the souls of Adam and Eve were made upright, however, their physical bodies were now subject to corruption and decay. Adam and Eve were suddenly faced with the same challenge that we are all faced with today.  They had to live their lives trusting in the Lord’s promise of a future restoration while having to contend with the difficulties of living in a corruptible frame in a fallen world.

The book of Job is a prime testimony to the struggle of living on this fallen earth in a corruptible body. God had already considered Job an upright man because he feared the Lord and shunned evil, (Job 1:8).  And even after Job had endured relentless physical and emotional pain he was still able to express his faithful hope in a promised Redeemer when he said:

“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God.”
(Job 19:25-26)

Many people have posed the question asking how anyone got saved before the cross?  The answer is and always is – faith! For the saints of the Old Testament times they had to look forward in faith towards their future for God’s promise of       a coming Redeemer that would make atonement for sin.

We, today, now look backward in faith at the finished work of our Redeemer Jesus Christ believing and trusting that He was (and is) the One that the Lord promised in Genesis 3:15.

Since the fall in the Garden of Eden, the Lord has been in the business of restoring His children back to Himself.  It is no doubt the greatest desire of His heart (Luke 12:32).  And He wants it to be our greatest desire, too. However, far too many people live for themselves, the world, or the things of the world and they give no thought to repentance or even getting to know their Creator and Redeemer.

Making matters worse is the fact that the world at large is completely at odds with the ways of the Lord.  As I stated earlier, the world and the people running it, do things upside down in relation to the Lord’s uprightness and the generation we live in has even passed legislature legalizing and condoning conduct that is an abomination in the Lord’s eyes.

From abortion to same-sex marriage, perversity has been reversed to “personal rights” while those that follow the Lord and His precepts have now become to be considered as harmful to society! Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said, “Christians are the worst part of Canadian society.” Sadly, many other world leaders echo his same sentiment.

“For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.” (Proverbs 3:32)

“He who walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.” (Proverbs 14:2)

As we continue to draw closer to the end of the age, it becomes more and more evident that the powers of darkness are gaining more influence over both the leaders of the nations and the masses.

Psalm 2 is a prophetic Psalm that describes the nations of the world plotting against the Lord and His Anointed (vv. 1-3). The result will be His wrath coming upon them (v. 5), and the nations eventually becoming His inheritance (v. 8).

It is only in our generation that we have been able to see the many nations of the world come together and plot, plan and conspire under one roof.  That roof would be the United Nations building. What many people may not know is that the goodwill operations of the UN are partnered with the Lucis Trust.

The Lucis Trust is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the U.S. by Alice Bailey and her husband Foster Bailey, to act as a fiduciary trust for the publishing of twenty four books of esoteric philosophy, and to fund and administer activities concerning the establishment of “right human relations.”  This is a foundation for the New World Order that the Antichrist will eventually head.

All one needs to do is research its beginnings to realize that the Lucis Trust is anti-Christ as it was originally called “The Lucifer Publishing Company” before being changed to the Lucis Publishing Company.  The Lucis Trust even admits that the original name was chosen to honor Lucifer—the light bearer. These folks actually think Lucifer is the good guy.

With that information in mind, now let’s go back and consider at Psalm 2 again. Is it any wonder why the Lord says that the nations plot against Him?  Of course they sugar-coat it with their “human relations goodwill” sentiments but it is just another satanic plot to control the world, and the godless liberals fall for it hook line and sinker.

Above the UN many believe that there is even a more sinister cabal of operations that are making the calls in this world to bring it to a New World Order. We get glimpses of this secret society every year when they convene for the Bilderberg meetings.

Many people believe that this group (and a handful of others) are made up of the most powerful men in the world that follow a Masonic plan to lead the world into chaos so that the Anti-Christ can rise to leadership out of its ruins and then lead them into a long awaited world of utopia.

We seen a preview of this plan during World War 2 when Hitler led the Third Reich with similar intentions fueled by occult philosophy.  When World War 2 ended Hitler and the Third Reich were terminated but the philosophy wasn’t. Evil men may come and go but Satan patiently uses each generation to further his evil agenda against God and to turn the world upside down.

“Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? And knows us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” (Isaiah 29:15-16)

The above verse from Isaiah 29:15-16 confirms that the wicked plot to “turn things upside down,” meaning that their ways are in opposition to the ways of the Lord, which are intended to turn the hearts of men right side up.

In most of their ways, evil men seek to overrule God or just completely hide Him from the unknowing. Christ gave the commandment to the church to go out into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15). Acceptance of the gospel message is what turns a person right side up but the world views those that preach the gospel as turning the world upside down (see Acts 17:6).

The society around us may be twisted and distorted, but the born-again Christian stands straight and upright because he measures his life by God’s Word, the perfect standard.

“He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly.” (Proverbs 2:7)

Walking uprightly should not mean that the born-again Christian should feel better than anyone else because it is by grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), and our righteous covering is a gift from God and belongs to Christ who bore our sins. It is our faith in the finished redemptive work of Christ that allows the Father to see us as upright in His eyes.

“Let my vindication come from Your presence; let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.” (Psalm 17:2)

Being ambassadors of Christ, born-again Christians have a difficult mission of promoting the righteous precepts of our holy Lord unto a world that promotes evil for good and good for evil.  Since the apostolic beginning of the Church Age up until today, the work of the church has been one of blood, sweat and tears, but that labor is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58), and the Lord is watching it all and keeping a record.

“The wicked have drawn the sword and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to slay those who are of upright conduct.  Their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever.” (Psalm 37:14-18)

The work of the Church is soon coming to an end as the dispensation of the Church Age draws nearer to its appointed conclusion. That conclusion will be amplified around the world by the Rapture when Christ redeems His bride, and then the seven-year judgment period known as the Tribulation will begin through which God will purge the earth of the wicked, fulfill His promises to redeem Israel, restore the earth and bring in the everlasting Kingdom.

“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
(Psalm 32:10-11)