How to Serve God When Nobody Notices

Sometimes it’s tough to serve God in the shadows. You show up faithfully. You contribute your part, but no one seems to notice. Matthias may have felt that way.

How to Serve God When Nobody Notices

(Photo: The Jordan River. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Ever since John the Baptist had prepared the way for the Messiah, Matthias had followed.

  • He had walked in Jesus’ footsteps from the Jordan River to the rugged hills of Galilee.
  • He had followed the Savior with passion and persuasion.

But without recognition. Matthias was a willing unknown.

In those moments we beg God to rescue us from our insignificant lives, believing nothing important is happening with us, Matthias reminds us that just the opposite is true.

The Ultimate Earth Day Still to Come

Not long ago I walked down a country road and saw the spring leaves popping from the trees. Literally a week earlier the branches had nothing. One week! It got me to thinking.

The Ultimate Earth Day Still to Come

(Photo by By Tsibin Konstantin, panoramio, CC-BY-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

All the potential for the trees to leaf lay hidden, dormant all winter, until something inside the trees awakened them from sleep. Life was there all the time, hiding behind death, until something cued it to resurrect.

If this is how the earth responds to the stimulus of spring every year, how much more potential lay dormant—awaiting the moment God removes the effects of fallen humanity from our planet? Talk about an Earth Day!

The Bible uses this truth to encourage us in our struggles.

Was Judas Saved?

His name is a byword for betrayal. But it never began that way. “Judas” is the Greek form for the Hebrew name Judah—a common designation in ancient Israel.

Was Judas Saved

(Painting: “The Judas Kiss” by Gustave Doré, Public Domain, via Wikimedia)

Judas’s treacherous betrayal came as a complete shock to all who knew him. On the surface, he appeared as dedicated as all the other apostles.

  • Chosen by Jesus.
  • Worker of miracles.
  • Even entrusted as treasurer.

So when Jesus foretold His betrayal at the Last Supper, no disciple at the table pointed and said, “Aha, Judas! I knew there was something about you!” The whole group remained clueless. Each one, in fact, asked, “Surely not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:22).

Strangely, even Judas asked. Don’t you wonder why?

What Jesus is Looking for in Your Life

Sometimes what you expect is not what you get. You come to a situation that promises one thing, but you get another. Monday of Passion Week proved that way for Jesus.

What Jesus is Looking for in Your Life

(Photo by Photodune)

The day before that Monday, on Palm Sunday, Jesus hopped on a donkey His disciples had borrowed from Bethphage (meaning “house of unripe figs”).

After His Triumphal Entry on the colt, Jesus entered the Temple area and found the Court of the Gentiles—the area for Gentiles to worship God—filled with markets and moneychangers. Jesus promptly cleaned house, saying:

It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer;” but you are making it a “robber’s den.” —Matt. 21:13

Monday morning, Jesus returned to Jerusalem along the same road He had traveled before. He saw a fig tree in leaf, which typically indicated that it would have unripe figs to eat. But the tree offered only leaves. No fruit for breakfast.

So Jesus cursed the tree. And His disciples heard Him. We should hear Him too.

His words indicate what Jesus is looking for in our lives.

Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees

Between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Jesus spent every day in Jerusalem. The places of the Passion Week where He taught, died, and rose again are now traveled by Christian pilgrims.

Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees

(Photo: Sunrise over Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Last week I shared some 360-degree images from 11 various sites in Israel. This week I’m including some panoramic images I took from sites in Jerusalem—specifically, those that connect with the Passion Week of Jesus.

Just click on the images and drag right or left to look around!

(If you’re reading this post in email or RSS, you may need to read the post on my blog to see the images.)

The Mount of Olives from Dominus Flevit

Jesus began the Passion Week on Palm Sunday, descending the Mount of Olives on the back of a donkey—presenting Himself to Israel as their Messiah (Dan. 9:25; Zech. 9:9, 16; Matt. 21).

The site of the Dominus Flevit Church remembers the point where Jesus paused and wept over Jerusalem, knowing the leaders would reject Him and His offer of the kingdom.

2 Questions to Help You Live Intentionally for God

It’s always easier to react to life rather than to shape it. To go with the flow rather than to dig a new trench. Obviously, we want to respond well to what life throws at us. It’s assumed we should do that.

Two Questions to Help You Live Intentionally for God

(Photo by Photodune)

But I believe God gives us help to choose the direction of our lives. To live intentionally for Him. I don’t mean we choose what happens to us, but rather, that God has given us the freedom to make significant choices in spite of our circumstances.

Jesus’ example shows us what choices to make to live intentionally for God.

Two questions can help us do that.

Where Overcoming Temptation Begins

We are more than physical creatures with physical needs. Notice in most prayer meetings that you’ll hear requests for God to help with the tangible needs. That’s fine, except it often ends there.

Where Overcoming Temptation Begins

(Photo by Photodune)

We don’t always realize how desperate our need is for truth beyond the tangible.

The trouble is, when we face temptation, our challenge is anything but physical—even when the temptation appeals to a physical needs or desires.

Overcoming temptation begins long before temptation.

Jesus shows us how.

How God Broadens Your Limited Perspective

Have you noticed how often we tend to interpret our faith as we want it to be, rather than as God reveals it to be? We have adopted the lifestyle of a tourist who only wants to see the highlights of the city.

How God Broadens Your Limited Perspective

(Photo: courtesy of Oomph)

Forget all the back alleys of New York. Show me Times Square. Let’s just jump to the Empire State Building. We focus on how the Christian life “ought” to be. (As if the tough parts are electives.)

A broad chasm stretches between the God we want and the God who is. Between the life we want and the life God wants for us.

As tough as it sounds, the only way to bridge this gap is the cross.