October 11

Today's Bible Reading
     I Kings 14
     Colossians 1
     Ezekiel 44
     Psalms 97-98
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
            “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” (Colossians 1:24)          ·
 
THE SUFFERING SERVANT
            I have often heard people say, “Oh,I've been so motivated by the speaking of such and such minister ...what a wonderful personality, what a fascinating person, and what a wonderful insight.” When that is the case, then what opportunity does the Gospel of God have through all of that? It cannot get through because the attraction is to the messenger, and not the message. If a person attracts through his personality, that becomes his appeal. If, however, he is identified with the Lord Himself and the message of the Word of God, then the appeal becomes what Jesus can do. The danger is to glory in men, yet Jesus says, “Weare to lift up only Him.” (John 12:32)
            The Christian servant has to be a sacred “go-between.” He must be so closely identified with his Lord and the reality of his redemption that Christ can continue to bring His creating life through him. We must make sure that we are living in such harmony with God that, as we proclaim His truth, He can create in others those things which He alone can do.
            This kind of intimacy with the Lord and effectiveness with people usually comes about only when the servant has been broken through some degree of suffering. It seems that it is only through being broken that we are able to bless those we minister to.
            By the way, when God sets out to break you, He uses the tools and the circumstances that He chooses, not the ones that you would choose. God makes us into wine by crushing us in the way that He chooses. We say, “If God would only use His own fingers and make me broken bread and poured out wine in a special way, then I would not object.” But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object. Yet, we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom. If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed -you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.
            Each time God has chosen to allow me to experience brokenness, He has left me without personal options and choices, and put me in a position of total dependence on Him.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            For the first time in the history of the world, half the world's population lives in or near a city. At the tum of the century, there were 20 cities of over 10 million; 60 over 4 million; and more than 400 cities over 1 million population. The majority of these cities is in the non-western world and is non-Christian. 
         I was just in Mumbai India.  The density of population is incredible. It is like putting the people of five U.S. States in the city limits of Knoxville TN. 
        Pray for missionaries and nationals who have ministries in the large cities of the world. One of the strategies of the Apostle Paul in first century missions was to focus on the city first, and then the Gospel would go out from the city to the rural areas. This is a great challenge and should be the focus of our praying today.