See to it

See to it that you fulfill your ministry

A Walk of Faith Devotional by Dave Bunnell

And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

–Colossians 4:17

Reading Colossians a few days ago, this verse gripped me. There in the closing of the book is Paul’s admonishment of a servant of Christ who apparently was dropping the ball. God had given him an open door to serve in some form of ministry, and he, for whatever reason, wasn’t being faithful to complete the work he had been given. So he needed a word of encouragement.

The verse gripped me, because I realized how often I, as well as many others, have needed to receive a word like that. Look at your life for a moment, and see if you need it, too, today.

The ministries that we do, which are jobs that the Lord Himself has given us, are works of service for His glory that He expects us to fulfill. He provides the grace, strength, guidance, stamina, and resources necessary to fulfill the task, as we turn to Him. So see that you get to the work He gives you without stall, without delay, and without giving up. And finish well.

Is there a ministry God has told you to start that isn’t started, even though He already opened the door? Then get to it.

Is there a ministry that you are no longer giving your whole heart to, and now you are slacking off because of disappointment or discouragement? Then get back to it. If He wants you to stop, He will close that door or open another that He asks you to go through. And He will be faithful to see you through on the job for as long as He desires.

Is there a ministry you have quit, or are about to quit, without His first releasing you from the task? Then make sure—see to it—that you keep on the job until He takes you off it.

“Fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)

A Call Forsaken – WOF Devotional

A Call Forsaken

A Walk of Faith devotional by Dave Bunnell

Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.
–2 Timothy 4:10a

That’s one of the sadder sentences of the Bible, because in one line it summarizes how a once-faithful servant of the Lord apparently failed to finish the race like a winner, and all because this world became more important to him than the next.

Presumably, this man Demas is the same one Paul had mentioned in two of his previous epistles (Philemon and Colossians) as a “fellow worker” in the cause of Christ. But now, as Paul writes his last letter, he tells Timothy that he is alone, because Demas has fallen prey to love for this world and taken off when Paul needed him most. Demas forsook God’s call and went to live for himself in Thessalonica, a very worldly city indeed.

Did he ever return to answer God’s call on his life? The Bible leaves us with no way of knowing, but its last words about him are a sort of warning to all of us who follow Christ. Beware the love of this world that can so quickly take even the most “spiritual” among us off track. Be constantly on your guard against the carnal desire within you to live for now instead of for eternity. God will remain faithful to us regardless of what we do, but we can lose much in the way of opportunity to be used of Him if we lose our focus in life. How many Christians in our generation are following in the steps of Demas instead of Paul? How many have left their “First Love,” to find temporary solace in the arms of another?

Perhaps someone reading this now is on the verge of abandoning God’s call in order to make this life more comfortable and pleasant. If Demas could talk to you today, I bet he’d warn you against giving in to those desires.
“Hold on,” he’d probably say. “Taking up your cross to follow Him is challenging, but you must stay diligent in service to the Lord until the very end! It is far better to forsake all and follow Him than to forsake Him to gain anything this world offers.”

Brother or sister, stay mindful of this truth. God Himself has a call on your life. Don’t you miss it for the world.

1 Samuel 8 – sermon notes

As we continue our Sunday study series through the book of 1 Samuel this week, and cover chapter 8, there will be no prerecorded video of the sermon online. We will try to go live on facebook when the service happens on Sunday, but in case that doesn’t work out, here are the written sermon notes for the message to be preached, so that people who have been following the video series can keep up with what we are learning in the study.

1 Samuel 8


Remember where we left off in chapter 7. God’s people Israel had finally learned the lesson that if He is their king and God, and no other, then the nation would be blessed. They had the ark back in the land, they won the war against the Philistines, they were enjoying God’s presence and protection, and Samuel was speaking to the people on God’s behalf as a righteous prophet.

Now, many years have passed, and a whole generation has seen God’s protection, worshiped Him alone, enjoyed His presence, and lived in peace without oppression from other nations. Samuel has spoken to the nation for God since he was dedicated for that work before birth and since he as a young boy hearing God’s voice for the first time said, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Samuel is now old, and nearing the end of his life on earth, as we begin chapter 8….

1 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba.

It was not God’s normal custom during the times of the judges of Israel to make the children of a good judge his successors. And there is no indication in the text that God wanted Samuel to start that tradition. Samuel was a good man, a man of God, and a man of faith; but still just a man, so he made mistakes, just like every man of God who is devoted to His will and glory, will make mistakes sometimes. This one would bring Samuel some pain.

3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

They were by no means as bad as the sons of Eli who had made a corrupt mess of the priesthood, but they were also not honorable men like Samuel. And they couldn’t be counted on to do the job of leading and bringing justice to the people of Israel as Samuel had.

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

A problem caused by a mistake in leadership, but the people’s response is disproportionate. They want to throw out the whole system they have enjoyed under Samuel’s leadership, including the blessing of having God as king and the position as a nation blessed and favored unlike any other. The blessings of a relationship with God are substantial and numerous. The nation was very misguided to forget that and try to go another direction.

In this, we find some spiritual lessons for us as individual Christians, as we look at what was happening to Israel as a whole. Just like the nation of Israel, we as individual believers have believed and been saved and been given an eternal relationship with God to which He will always remain faithful. And just like Israel, if we are faithless and turn some other direction, we will experience a loss of close fellowship with God, a loss of temporal blessings, a lack of His perfect guidance and protection, and He will have to chasten us, bringing unwanted and unpleasant circumstances into our lives to call us back to a close walk with Him. God was everything Israel needed, but they made the mistake of wanting another way. It wouldn’t go well for them. As an individual believer, God is everything you need; don’t make the mistake of trying to find your own way—it won’t go well for you.

6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD.

When a leader has served the Lord faithfully, and the people who have for years benefited from following the Lord together under that leader’s guidance suddenly decide they want something else instead, it hurts that leader deeply. No matter how spiritually mature and close to the Lord he is, it is painful for him when people who were following Christ closely and supporting the ministry begin to pull away and no longer listen to good godly counsel. Samuel did the right thing with his pain, though. Neither lashing out in anger, nor quitting as men are sometimes tempted to do in this situation, Samuel just took his injured heart to the Lord in prayer.

7 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

God knew Samuel was hurt and perplexed. He answered thusly:

Let the people have what they want. It isn’t you they are rejecting. It wasn’t you who saved them. It wasn’t you who made them what they are. It isn’t you being walked away from. It is Me. And I can take it. My Kingship is the one they are saying they don’t want. You are only their leader because I made you so. Their faithfulness to Me has been short-lived in every generation of the people that has come along. I have dealt with it and remained faithful, and I will continue to do so. So while they are rejecting you now, not heeding your voice, just know that this is how they have always dealt with Me, long before I made you their leader. But you will continue to speak for Me, even though their desire to listen has waned. You will give them a king, but first you will warn them about all they are giving up by abandoning My Kingship, and all that will happen to them since My people just want “to be like all the other nations.”

10 So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

Samuel put his trust in the Lord and gave the people His message. He warned them all about how the blessings of being the Lord’s inheritance and having Him as King was a national life so much better than the other nations had it. God is a generous king. A human king would take far more than he gave. His protection in battle, unlike the Lord’s, would be limited to how good an army he could build by drafting the people’s sons without their consent. Under God’s kingship, the people had enjoyed the best of everything. Under a human kingship, they, like other nations, would be forced to give the best of everything they had to the government.

And in truth, Israel has never had it as good as they did in Samuel’s day ever since. Until Christ returns and they again experience all God wants for them as a nation, this will continue. The generation that turned its back on Samuel was making the decision for the generations of its descendants: “We will let a human king fight our battles in his strength and guide and govern us with his own wisdom. We want to be like other nations.”

As believers, we might be tempted to be like other people in how we live our lives, and what dreams we pursue. But what we need to do is realize that with God guiding every aspect of our lives, we have it better than everyone else. We should never envy, nor emulate, the most successful ones in the unbelieving world. We should be thankful, and realize and remind ourselves daily, that we who have the Lord as our Shepherd are the only ones who lack no good thing in this life or the next.

19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

God had been doing such a perfect job as their King and the fighter of their battles, that they had been decades without even having any battles after the Lord defeated the Philistines, their kings, and their gods. But it is in our fallen nature to trade what is best from God for what is inferior from man. God gives a good ministry, and we’re tempted to leave it for temporal work we think will feel more rewarding. God gives a good spouse, and we’re tempted to divorce and look elsehwere for companionship. God provides a good place to live and when problems come, instead of seeking His help we jump to another situation that He wasn’t guiding us to.

Israel had been warned. And they had made their decision. A tragic mistake had been made. There would be no going back.

Be careful in your individual life to avoid making the mistake the nation of Israel was making that day. God is good enough, and He is all the provision, protection, guidance, and help you need. His plan for your life is better than your own. His dreams for you far superior to your own. His knowledge of what you are going to face and how to get through it is infinite. Like Israel that day had Him as eternal Savior, so now do you. So be faithful to Him, walk with Him all the days of your life. Be spared of His chastening and experience the wonders of His love as you abide in Him day by day, letting your Savior also be your only Lord and King.

21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD. 22 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

There was nothing more for the prophet to say. God’s guidance for the nation would largely go silent now, at least for a time. The only thing left for Samuel to do until God revealed the king He would raise up, was to send the people home. And on that sad note, chapter 8 comes to a close.

Video Sermon Galatians 5b

The video sermon series through the book of Galatians, in English with Romanian translation, continues with the second half of chapter 5. In Christ, we are already citizens of heaven by God’s grace. But we don’t want to settle for just entry into His kingdom when He would delight to also give us the reward of inheriting the kingdom to reign with Christ. This passage shows us how we can be successful not just getting to heaven, but having an abundant entry there.