Thursday, May 2 nd , 2024
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Service and Sacrifice

“James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You." And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?" They said to Him, "Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to Him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. "But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. "But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Mark 10:35-45 NAS


We have been encouraging you to join us in praying prayers that will change the course of our nation and her future; to bring us back onto the path of righteousness God that has commanded for His glory and our blessing. Our prayers are the ink on the pages of future history books; we cannot change the past, but we can certainly set the course of our future by making prayer and service to God our priority.

Amy Parks, our National Day of Prayer Task Force Communications Coordinator reminded us in last week’s article about World War II, D-Day, and President Roosevelt’s call for people to, “devote themselves in a continuance of prayer.” The President called the nation to “invoke God’s help to our efforts” morning until night. President Roosevelt knew that victory against the enemy, first and foremost, took a collaborative commitment of consistent fervent prayer that included service and sacrifice on the home front and the frontlines of the war – not sitting on the sidelines.

Jesus taught this as a couple of His disciples vied to sit in the greatest positions of honor next to King Jesus on His throne of glory. In ancient culture, and somewhat even today, the closer you are seated to an earthly king the greater the honor and power bestowed upon you. In this moment, Jesus, being the Son of God who emptied Himself and left heaven to come serve and be a sacrifice for all people, is being asked by a couple of fishermen to get to sit in honor. This moment reminds me to be deeply grateful that Jesus treats my ignorance with compassionate wisdom that redirects my heart back onto the path of righteousness to serve and to sacrifice. We are not called to a convenient and comfortable Christianity that sits in the shade of the sidelines as a spectator, but to armor up and fight the enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.

I had the privilege of walking the D-Day beaches and cemetery in Normandy last week. I viewed the 9,000 graves and read the names of some of the soldiers that President Roosevelt called us to pray for as D-Day unfolded, and as the war raged on. As I read the graves marked “Known But to God” I thought about how God does know their name; He knew every hair on their head, every prayer that they said, and the great heroes that they are, even though we do not know their name. These graves of unknown soldiers who served, who sacrificed growing old with their wives, raising their children and gave up the gift of grandchildren, picnics, vacations, ballgames and so much more, but God knew and still knows their names. Their Savior welcomed those who were His into heaven with rewards greater than anything we can imagine on earth. I stood and cried as taps played and the American flag was lowered at the end of the day and prayerfully gave thanks to God for those committed to serve and sacrifice then and now. Every day, not just on that day, I am challenged to first pray that I will be faithful to serve and sacrifice, and secondly to pray for every person who serves and sacrifices, not only in the military but throughout our communities and country in government, education, in their workplace, church, for their family, and in arts, entertainment and media. We encounter them every day and must remember that we are not called to critique them or just be consumers of their service but commanded to intercede and serve alongside them.

Would you join together now in prayer?

Jesus, You are our Teacher, Deliverer, King, Redeemer, Lord, Author and Authority of our lives. We worship You and give You praise and thanks for being the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through You and so You humbled Yourself and laid down Your life to be the path, the sacrifice whose blood covered our sin and carries us into the presence of the Father. Thank You for not only being our Teacher, but also our example. You could have chosen to sit on Your throne and left us on our own, but You left Your heavenly home not to be served, but to serve, and to be the sacrifice that ransomed our souls. Empty us of pride and fear so that we are the vessels of the service You desire and require. Prompt us to pray every day and serve God and country according to Your Word, will, and ways. In the beautiful Name of Jesus we pray, Amen!

Serving Him with gladness,

Kathy Branzell