Today's Bible Readings
     II Samuel 19
     II Corinthians 12
     Ezekiel 26
     Psalms 74
      ''Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. 
For when I am weak, then I am strong." ''And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved." (II Corinthians 12:10, 15)
      While most of us spend a great deal of time and energy seeking recognition and compensation for our Christian service, Paul said that he knew how to be a doormat without resenting it because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus. The devotion of the modern church, however, seems to be more toward what gives us spiritual freedom than it is the total surrender to Him. Paul even said, ''I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren ...'' (Romans 9:3) He was saying that he was willing to give up his eternal life in Heaven in order to win those that he cared about. Had Paul lost his ability to reason? Not at all! For someone who is in love, this is not an overstatement, and Paul was in love with Jesus Christ.
      Once the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the ''Holy Spirit'', we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus' interest and purpose in other's lives.
      Paul spent his life for only one purpose - that he might win people to Jesus Christ. He had always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, ''I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some." (I Corinthians 9:22)
      That is the one purpose of God in your life today. When that becomes the devotion of your life, it does not mean that you must always be alone with God; in fact, when you spend all of your time in that monastic way, you are no longer of any use to others. It is like putting self on a pedestal. When we are totally in love with Jesus, our motivation will be to do what He did, and to be what He was to a lost world.
      Now don't expect any great rewards for this kind of lifestyle. The natural human love expects something in return. Paul is saying, ''It doesn't really matter to me whether you love me or not. I am willing to be completely destitute anyway, willing to be poverty stricken, not just for your sakes, but also that I may be able to get you to God.''
Many criticize the modem church because of its apparent lack of interest in ministering to the social and human needs of people around it. Jesus Christ actually out-socialized the socialists. He said that in His Kingdom, the greatest one will be the servant of all.
      Most of us find it necessary to add all the ''what ifs'' to any particular commitment to serve Him. What if I take a cut in pay?  What if it is hot there? What if there is danger there?
      These questions indicate that we have reservations about serving God. The Apostle Paul had no conditions or reservations. Today it is His will for you and me that we lay aside our reservations, and become the broken bread and poured out wine that He needs us to be.
      Are you ready to be a doormat for Jesus today?
      The arrival of inexpensive cassette tape recorders and other electronic devices has made it possible to distribute Christian recordings widely to both believers and unbelievers. This has become a valuable tool for evangelism. Pray today for organizations that are working in this area of sharing Christ, and pray for an increase in the number and availability of recorded messages.
      ''God writes with a pen that never blots, speaks with a tongue that never slips, and acts with a hand that never falls."