Thoughts and encouragement from David Guzik for pastors, preachers, Bible teachers, and all those who serve God, His people, and a needy world in Jesus’ name.

workers together

Co-Workers with Jesus

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
2 Corinthians 6:1

workers together

There are many wonderful titles for those who do God’s work. We can be called servants, teachers, pastors, elders, preachers, deacons and so forth. Here in 2 Corinthians 6:1 Paul gave one of the most amazing and wonderful titles: workers together with Him.

Think about it. Paul saw himself as a co-worker with Jesus Christ. The use of we instead of “I” shows that Paul didn’t only consider himself as a co-worker with Jesus, but also others who served the Savior.

What an amazing job you have: workers together with Him! It isn’t that God needed Paul, or that God needs any of us. Instead, it is that God wants us to be workers together with Him for our good.

It’s like the little boy with the toy lawnmower following dad as dad mows the lawn. For the sake of pure efficiency, dad should ask the boy to go away because he is really just in the way. But it is so good for the boy to work with dad! And because dad loves his boy, he wants him to work together with Him.

The word “workers” itself is important. There is something good and important in work itself, so much so that God wants us to be workers together with Him. God’s best for our life is never a state of ease and comfort and indulgent inactivity – even if we did all those things together with Him. God wants us to be workers together with Him, not “couch potatoes” or “pew potatoes” together with Him.

We are workers together with Him. Paul never said God works together with us. It isn’t our work that God helps us with. It is His work that He asks us to do together with Him. Instead of trying to get God to help us with our work, we need to find out what God’s work is, and do it with Him.

After a weekend of serving God, take little pleasure in recognizing one of the wonderful things about Christian ministry: we get to work together with Jesus Christ. He wants you to work with Him and to advance His kingdom. How honored we all are to do this!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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servants stewards

How to Consider Yourself

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
1 Corinthians 4:1

servants stewards

Paul wrote to the Corinthians and here told them how he wanted to be considered. When they thought of Paul, what did he want to come into their mind? Paul knew how he and others like him should be thought of. He said, let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

In the Christian world today, consider what many pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers might finish those words, consider us.

  • Consider us professionals
  • Consider us celebrities
  • Consider us eloquent
  • Consider us successful
  • Consider us intellectual
  • Consider us influential
  • Consider us popular

Paul would have none of that. For him it was, consider us as servants of Christ. This was his primary identification when it came to ministry, and to be a servant of Christ was a high enough honor for Paul. But Paul wasn’t only a servant, but also a steward: and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Basically, the steward had the responsibility to protect and wisely distribute what the master owned. Paul knew he had to protect and distribute God’s message (the mysteries of God). Paul wasn’t a composer of these mysteries, nor was he an editor of them. Neither are we. Like Paul, we protect and wisely distribute.

Dear pastor, preacher, or Bible teacher: there is a sense in which God has entrusted His word to you as a steward of His mysteries. You have a great responsibility to both protect and distribute His truth, and to do it as well as you can.

Today, take some satisfaction in those two titles: servant and steward. Consider yourself that way and be happy if others consider you the same way.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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inheritance

Choosing Our Inheritance

He will choose our inheritance for us,
The excellence of Jacob whom He loves.

Psalm 47:4

inheritance

This short thought by email is directed to pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers. I hope to bring you a brief word of encouragement after a weekend of serving God in whatever way He has given you to serve.

Think of this wonderful line from Psalm 47:4: He will choose our inheritance for us. The psalmist was confident in the wisdom and goodness of the great King. He was happy to let the great King choose our inheritance.

It is a glorious fact that our great King Jesus has chosen the inheritance of His people. Ephesians 1:3-6 is just one passage that describes some of His choosing for us:

– He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.
– He chose us to be holy and blameless before Him in love.
– He chose us to be adopted as sons and daughters into His family.

It is a wise prayer, to ask our great King Jesus to choose our inheritance for us. We often get into trouble by wanting to choose our own inheritance.

– We sometimes want to choose our own blessings. One has health, another has wealth, a third has great talents; each wishes they had what the other has. Yet it is far better to let God choose our blessings.

– We sometimes want to choose our own calling. One sees the calling of another and thinks that the calling of the other is better, or they want to imitate the calling of another instead of running their own race.

– We sometimes want to choose our own crosses. We think that our own problems are so much worse than others, and we think that we could bear any number of crosses – except the one He chose for us.

The second line of Psalm 47:4 shows us why we can trust Jesus to choose our inheritance: the excellence of Jacob whom He loves. We know that for Jesus’ sake and because we are in Him, God is for us and not against us. He loves us as His chosen; because He chose us we are happy to let Him choose our inheritance for us.

As pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers we can be at peace with where we are at, and with whatever God may has for us in the future, because a loving God has chosen our inheritance for us.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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river

The Happy River

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
Psalm 46:4-5

river

I love to read the Psalms. No matter how I’m feeling or what circumstances I am in, there is a psalm to match my mood. Something here in Psalm 46 spoke to me just now.

As I write this on Monday, I know that many of you have preached and served at your local church yesterday. Many people from many backgrounds receive this email, so if you weren’t preaching in a pulpit, leading a class, or other kind of preaching and teaching service on Sunday, I think you can still benefit from the truth of Psalm 46:4-5.

The psalmist confidently declares, “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God.” He pictured the abundant, constant provision of a river for Jerusalem. I live in Southern California where we really don’t have rivers. When I travel and see a mighty river, I’m impressed and amazed. Here the psalmist pictured a happy river for Jerusalem (the city of God).

Jerusalem does not in fact have such a river, only a few small streams. Yet the prophets anticipated the day when a mighty river would flow from the temple itself (Ezekiel 47:12, Revelation 22:1). The future reality is already in the mind of the psalmist. This river flows and makes all the city of God happy.

– The city of God is glad because life-giving water is always present in that dry, semi-arid land.

– The city of God is glad because the river has many streams, a picture perhaps connected to the rivers that watered the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10-14).

– The city of God is glad because a river is sometimes a picture of peace (Isaiah 48:18, 66:12). The idea is that Jerusalem is in perfect peace.

– The city of God is glad because their city is secure, having one of the best defenses against an enemy besieging the city – guaranteed water.

I believe that God wants to bring blessing to your service for Him, blessing like a life-giving river. This blessing isn’t gained by working harder or doing better, but by simply believing and receiving. Under God’s grace the key to blessing is not earning and deserving, but in truly trusting Jesus and receiving.

Like this river, God wants to bring life and refreshment to you in your service to Him and His people. Like many streams, God wants to do this in many ways, perhaps some of them unexpected. Like a tranquil river, God wants to bring peace and a sense of security in Him to your ministry.

His river is happy and wonderful. Let the river of God’s blessing refresh you this Monday.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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overflowing heart

The Overflowing Heart

My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Psalm 45:1

overflowing heart

Many of you have preached and served God, His people, and a needy world over the weekend. Here’s a quick thought that might bless and brighten your Monday.

I love the song of the Sons of Korah in Psalm 45. The whole Psalm is so focused on the greatness of Messiah the King, and upon His bride. For a quick morning encouragement, just take a look at verse 1:

My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

I don’t know how your summer is going, and what this season of ministry is like for you. Ministry definitely has its seasons. I have a big heart for those who are in difficult seasons of serving God. But I’m also happy to say that not all seasons are difficult; sometimes our heart is overflowing with a good theme.

Let’s be grateful for those good seasons of serving God, and let’s especially do what Psalm 45 guides us to do: put our focus on the King in those times.

Did you know that there are many people who can handle adversity much better than they can handle success? Sometimes it is the overflowing season that makes our focus drift. In the hard times you kept your focus on God because you knew you had to, or you might not make it through! But in the overflowing season, it’s easy to relax too much (or in the wrong way) and let our focus wander.

It doesn’t have to be that way. When your heart is overflowing with a good theme because your preaching or teaching seems blessed, because budgets are being met, because the work of the Holy Spirit is evident, because there is peace among the congregation, or for whatever other reasons, just let it overflow in the right direction. Direct the overflow to the King. Remember that the blessing is there because He is so wonderful, not because you are so wonderful!

You know how to draw near to God in adversity, now draw near to Him in gratitude. In a season of overflow, remember that it takes a steady hand to hold a full cup – even more so a cup that is overflowing! Focused on the King, your hand will be steady, and the season of overflow will be as spiritually healthy for you as a season of difficulty.

Enjoy the overflow.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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from the depths

From the Depths

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 42:7

from the depths

Serving God has its seasons of discouragement. We’re so thankful that it isn’t always like that, but it certainly is discouraging from time to time. In such a season we can find real encouragement from Psalm 42. The whole psalm is amazing but look at just verse 7.

When the psalmist sang, “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls” he wasn’t thinking about the depths of glory, but the depths of discouragement. Perhaps the psalmist saw or thought of a waterfall in this high country. He saw how the water plunged down into a deep pool at the base of the waterfall and thought, “I feel that deeply buried under my misery.” It was as if all Your waves and billows have gone over me and he was buried under.

It is a powerful and poetic description of despair:

  • I hear the constant noise of the waterfalls; it never stops.
  • I fell from a previous height.
  • I plunged down quickly, and was taken down deep.
  • I feel buried under all of this.
  • I feel like I’m drowning.

Yet even in this, there are points of light, giving hope:

  • I am deep; but God is also – so His depths call unto me in my depths.
  • The waterfalls are God’s; if I am plunged under, then He are with me.
  • The waves and billows are His; God has measured all this.

From the depths, the psalmist understood “The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me.” The psalmist came to a place of greater confidence, secure in God’s goodness to him in the daytime or at night. In the more frightening night, he would have the gracious comfort of His song to be with him.

That’s why he could dedicate this song as “A prayer to the God of my life.” This was another statement of confidence. The song from God will be a prayer, but not unto the God of his death, but to the God of my life.

Feel like you’re going under? God is with you even in the depths, and He will command His lovingkindness to you!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

 

 

heal my soul

Heal My Soul

Many of you have preached and served God, His people, and a needy world over the weekend. Here’s a quick thought that might bless and brighten your Monday.

Look at David’s prayer in Psalm 41:4:

I said, “LORD, be merciful to me;
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”

heal my soul

Those who serve God – as you perhaps did over this last weekend – are in special need of God’s mercy. I have always found it interesting that Paul commonly greeted the churches he wrote to with the words “grace” and “peace” (Romans 1:7 and Galatians 1:3 are examples). But when Paul wrote to the pastors and church leaders Timothy and Titus, he added mercy to the greeting of grace and peace (1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4). That says that we who serve the Lord need God’s mercy more than most!

It’s a good prayer to prayer after a busy ministry weekend. Even if we work hard and see fruit from our work for the Lord, we are at the same time aware of how weak we are, how big our job is, and how short we fall. It’s always good to pray, “LORD, be merciful to me.”

Yet it is a prayer we pray with great boldness, asking God to “heal my soul.” We know He is the healer of souls, and we know our soul can become hurt and bruised as we open it to serve God’s people and a needy world. I speak to you as a fellow servant of God: if your soul is bruised after a weekend of service, come to God today and pray from Psalm 41: “Heal my soul.” It’s important to do this because wounded souls often wound others. Let God bring healing to your soul today.

Finally, notice David’s great humility: “For I have sinned against You.” As we ask God for mercy and for the healing of our soul, we always need to do it from a place of humility. Just like all those we serve in Jesus’ name, we are sinners who need the work of our great Savior. Maybe you are a pastor, but remember that God’s shepherds are also sheep. Like David, we can confess our sins. David made:

  • A confession without excuse
  • A confession without qualification
  • A confession without superficiality

That kind of humble heart is sure to receive from God what it needs, and we all need His mercy and His soul-healing work. After your busy weekend, receive that today – and expect His goodness and blessing to you this week for Jesus’ sake!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

 

 

is god pleased

Is God Pleased to Bless Your Service?

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;
O LORD, make haste to help me! (Psalm 40:31)

Many of you have preached and served God, His people, and a needy world over the weekend. Here’s a quick thought that might bless and brighten your Monday.

is god pleased

Think of how King David prayed in Psalm 40:13:

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;
O LORD, make haste to help me!

I love David’s whole prayer here in Psalm 40. He was so honest and open with God about his troubles, his hopes, his gratitude, his surrender, and even his own weakness and sin.

Despite his many iniquities David could and did rely upon the Lord for deliverance. He skillfully phrased the request, not only asking God to deliver him, but asking God to take pleasure in his deliverance. He could ask boldly because he believed it to be consistent with God’s pleasure.

So, David prayed “Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me.” Don’t you love the boldness of his approach to God? We might take this principle and apply it to many of our requests.

Be pleased, O Lord, to forgive me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to correct me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to provide for me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to heal me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to guide me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to bless me.

And after a weekend of ministry, we can pray: Be pleased, O Lord, to bless Your Word I have preached and the service I have offered to You, Your people, and a needy world. I know that my effort really means nothing without your continual grace and blessing upon it. Be pleased to bless it, Lord.

Your service is pleasing to Him; I believe He will be pleased to bless it.

 

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

 

 

prayer bible

The Preacher’s Heart Prays Psalm 33

Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
(Psalm 33:20-22)

prayer bible

I’m writing this on Monday, the day after a Sunday that many of you have preached and served at your local church. I know there are many people from many backgrounds who receive this email, so if you weren’t preaching in a pulpit, leading a class, or other kind of preaching and teaching service on Sunday, just take the principle for when you do serve in that way.

I was reading Psalm 33 and the last few verses stood out to me as suggesting thoughts for our praying after preaching and teaching. As pastors, preachers, and teachers we could pray it line by line:

Our soul waits for the Lord: “Father in heaven, yesterday I labored for You, for Your people, and those yet to be Your people. But I know the success of my work does not first depend on me; it needs Your blessing, Your anointing. So, I wait for You to bless and empower Your word that I spoke yesterday.”

He is our help and our shield: “Lord, You know some of the difficulties I’m going through with people and circumstances. Help me to not trust in myself or defend myself, but to look to You as my help and shield.”

Because we have trusted in His holy name: “It’s true, Lord – I do trust in Your holy name. When I preach Your word, it’s because I trust in You and not in me.”

Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us: “Father, I need Your mercy. No one knows more than me how great are my weaknesses and how many are my failings. Let Your mercy be upon me, but not only me – may it be upon us, upon all those I know and love who are also serving You.”

Just as we hope in You: “Once more I confess it, Father – my hope is in You. My hope is not in my gifts, my effort, my holiness, my blessings. As I put my hope in You, do what You promised to do: to never fail the one who trusts in You.”

This is my prayer for everyone who reads this: “Lord, give them a good and refreshing Monday, and prepare us all to keep serving You, Your people, and a world that is perishing.”

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers