Fulfill Your Ministry
Sandy Willoughby

"But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:5 NASB

"But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" 2 Timothy 4:5 KJV

"Fulfill your ministry"... These are words that kept whispering themselves in my ear as and after reading them during a quiet time reading. Must we ever wonder *if* God's Word is alive *when* He reveals to us time and again that it is? Words that speak to our hearts, tap us on the shoulder, fill our hearts with peace, and softly sing their melodies into the very soul of us. These are living Words. Words alive and existing by the power of God. Given to us freely and fully by Jesus Christ. . . the never-ending and always giving gift.

I know there are ministries of God's leading beyond those I will write of today. I am honing in on the ministry I fully believe He gives to each of us as home keepers but the same principles can be applied to any ministry beyond those we'll read of here. It is fascinating to me how God's Word applies to every thing. There is NOTHING not covered in His Word AND what advice and wisdom is given for one situation can be applied in other situations as well. This is how truth works!

The focus I want us to zoom in on now is our home ministry. The ministry in and of our homes to include all inside. Our homes "hold us" in a sense and it is vital that we realize WHOSE hands are holding the homes! We learn and live inside and outside of these dwellings so the material side --- the house --- is taken care of ONLY after (and during) the heart of the real home. There is a ministry for each one of us to fulfill first. What do I mean by "first"? This: First before ministries away from the home. Are those ministries not important? Does God not want us reaching farther than the little postage stamp section of our dot on this world? Yes... they are important and I do believe He wants for us to serve beyond our back yards. Just as long as our yards and homes are served first. Not the grass and the dishes or laundry... we don't "serve" the tasks and it is as I wrote before... those things will be taken care of as we learn to bring to order and to fruition the ministries He hands our hearts first. The serving I write of today is that to God first, husband, children, home fires, and all of those around us. Have you ever noticed that it can actually seem easier to minister to and serve those far beyond our daily scope? Those who don't know us intimately, see only what we show them, and those who "see" us as saints? It can be much more difficult to serve first those who not only see our real colors but reveal their real colors as well. It is here that we see not only the shining, bright, and beautiful hues but the dark and deep and ugly as well.

Not my will, dearest Father, but Thine.

"Fulfill Your Ministry".

The first word in the above sentence means, "to complete". "To fill completely; to bring into full measure."  We won't complete, fill completely, and bring into full measure our ministry over night. This is a life long work. A worthy work. It doesn't have to be perfect before we can add on other ministries... just a continual work in progress. Work with fruit.

This ministry as with any to follow can appear daunting sometimes. Insurmountable or even possible to climb up and/or march through. God will show the way.

If we are to be women after God's own heart we must strive to fulfill HIS will and not our own. David --- the man written as "after God's own heart" did this:

"And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their King, to whom also he gave testimony, and said: 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, which shall fulfill all my will." [Acts 13:22]

What IS His will?

God provides many instructions on carrying out His good and perfect Will in our lives and in our homes. The focus highlighted is serving others... including, of course, our husbands, children, and each and every visitor at our home and/or into our lives!

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." [Galatians 6:2]

"Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." [Philippians 2:2]

We do this not for our own glory but for His perfect glory. We are not worthy to even attempt this on our own but HE in us MAKES us worthy!

"Wherefore also we pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the Name of our LORD Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the LORD Jesus Christ." [2 Thessalonians 1:11-12]

How do we set about fulfilling His will in our daily lives? In our relationship to/with Him, our marriages, parenting, and home life in general? Fulfilling His Will of serving those around us and every soul beyond us that He sends our way? By deeming God, husband, children, and others as important as we deem ourselves. (This shows that though we are not to exalt ourselves and/or the estimation of ourselves... we are to love "us" bec/ of HIM in us. Otherwise, we would not be instructed to love others as well as we love ourselves!) "Find satisfaction in Him who made you, and only then find satisfaction in yourself as part of His creation." Augustine of Hippo

"If ye fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well." James 2:8

Royal law. Royal law according to the Scripture. Beautiful wording and truth. Placed before us is not some worldly, empty, meaningless slave work! We are presented with THE ROYAL LAW! Does it get any more ROYAL than God Himself? No way! What a privilege and true honor He places before us!

In our relationship with God, our husbands, our children, in our homes, and with all around us we can apply the following wisdom:

* virtue --- do one's duty. Our duty to God is to put Him first and to love Him with all of our hearts. In our marriages, we are to be a help mate to our husbands. Our motherhood means training our children in righteousness...even when it gets hard. Our homes... don't each of us know fully well how many duties are here for our ready hands? Others? We already read about this... we bear one another's burdens.

* morality. We walk with a decent set of laws. Royal laws. Laws found in the Bible.

* integrity. Steadfast in following God's Word and Royal law.

* nobleness. A Spirit of high character.

* excellence. Top of the line service of duties.

* self-control. Denying our *self* and controlling our impulses.

* Keeping the right path. Not stepping to the left or to the right.

* Worthy. Understanding that we are valuable as well as our work in the eyes of God.

* Praiseworthy. Worthy of praise not for who we are but for WHO is in us. Shall we explore on just *what* a ministry really *is*?

A ministry is a service. It is serving God through our service of others. It is the equipping of saints that we can minister to each other. (Not word for word --- Ephesians 4:11-12).

Jesus related service to God with service to others. It was HIS example for us to follow:

"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary tells us this: "When we minister to the needs of others, we actually minister to Christ." Just the same: "...When we fail to do so we sin against God...".

We are all bondservants. Before you read this and think I am advocating throwing yourself at the doorway of your home and screaming for all to come stomping you flat... read on:)

"Doulos" is a term for bondslave and this is defined as: "one who was offered his freedom but who voluntarily surrendered that freedom in order to remain a servant".

We are NOT servants of the world but servants of God Himself. Christ was a bond servant to God. Titus 1:1 tells us that Peter was called a bond servant of God.

We are servants to God, through serving others, and our ministry means serving those others by and from the love of Jesus Christ. We are servants not of words... but of THE WORD.

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word." Acts 6:4

What are some guidelines for our serving? Our ministry of God, Husband, Children, and all others? The Bible doesn't give an exact checklist that gives a certificate after all on the list are checked off but it does provide some guidelines to help us in our serving.

The guidelines are shared in the Bible for Pastors, Bishops, and overseers. Upon further reading of them I thought they were good points for us to consider as overseers of our priorities.

"For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful Word, which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict." [Titus 1:7-9]

God's steward. The definitions for this word are about managing property for someone, one in charge of situations and things belonging to another. This would indicate that our husbands, children, and beyond are really God's and HE has placed US in charge of them! With husbands I don't mean that we should be in charge OVER them... no, I mean that God has given us the husband to take care of. Pugnacious means ready to fight and quarrelsome in case you were wondering what that means:) I was assuming it meant obnoxious and I guess it is that also!

Precious ones, satan is crouching at the doors and windows of your home. WORK HARD to KEEP him OUT. If he tries to get in through sin... do not stop until you have pushed him back out and strive to keep him out. You are not fighting on your own. God is with you. He is stronger and mightier than satan and is ruler over him just as He is ruler over all. Some times human nature knowing that God has control over all things... will blame Him when satan gets in and tries to take over. I have seen very dramatic cases of this and it is such a sad and scary sight to behold. When this happens... the person doesn't see that all the blessings in their lives are from God and all the tragedies are from satan. They just hold God responsible for "ruining their lives" when the reality is that God didn't create us as robots to do His Will with no choice. He created us with choice and WE make choices against His Word and wonder why His promises don't seem to be true. His promises are true regardless of what we do but so are His consequences. Keep the home fires burning, dear ones. Realize what a beautiful ministry is before you and He will bless you with everything you need for each and every step of life.

Written in His shining love,

Sandy

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Home Project Idea:

We are remodeling our bathroom and God has just blessed and blessed us with HIS creative ideas! The walls had sheetrock that wallpaper was almost like paint on and was too thin and too adhered to ever get off. We decided to paint after applying Kilz but there were many seams to contend with. Browsing through a magazine, I saw a project where they were dealing with paneled walls. Observing the work made me realize that the same method could be applied to our walls since there were so many areas in need of filling in the seams. We tried it and the results are even more beautiful than in the magazine! This procedure makes the walls look like an old stone wall. It is similar to stucco but MUCH prettier in my opinion.

You just apply All Purpose Light Weight Joint Compound to the entire wall. Take a large piece of aluminum foil and squish into a ball. The first time Blake tried this, he had the ball too tight and pressed them together way too closely. That was just above the shower and looks like we did it on purpose but I'm glad it wasn't the whole wall! Anyway, you choose by doing a small area first and getting an idea on how you want it to look. The tin foil ball is lightly pressed here and there into the compound while it is still wet. After this you take a straight edge and as evenly as you can pull down on the wall from top to bottom. It should give the appearance of an old stone wall. Once this dries (it can take 24 hours or way longer than that) you are supposed to lightly sand it, wipe it down, let totally dry again and then paint in the color of your choice. It has to COMPLETELY dry before ANY paint is applied bec/ it can mold underneath the paint otherwise.

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To Do Book

I found a cute and affordable spiral book at Barnes & Noble to use for a to do book. This one was somewhat affordable (under $7) with a bright purple cover. My notebooks are almost always a basic black, navy blue, khaki, bright red, and other such colors. This one caught my eye and that was what I needed... something that would stand out and not get so easily misplaced among the other colors around here.

The pages are sectioned by colors. The pages are not a bright white but muted a bit and the ends are colored the same hue as the lines. The sections

are: bright blue at the beginning followed by red, grey, lime green, purple and ending with orange. There is also a little box at the top of each page that runs the same length as the lines.

I read some of "Messies Manual" after determining I would never read it bec/ I hated the name and I didn't want to declare or state myself as "messie". I truly don't love the title of that book bec/ people who don't consider themselves as messy will not buy something calling them that. I haven't bought this book but I have read bits of it during visits to the Christian book store and there were some good points from what I gathered of what I did read.

Anyway, I think that is where the idea for a "To Do Book" was taken from and I have been doing this with surprising and simple success.

Basically, you get a spiral notebook in a small enough size to be portable but big enough to write your list in. Each day you write down what things need to be done. In one of Anne Ortlund's books (or is it "Ann"?) she recommends tearing the page out at the end of each day and starting the new day fresh. For mine, I am going to write down what things are pressing on me to do and anything that hits me in need of being done that might distract me. If I write it down... it doesn't stress me so.

I will probably transfer some of what I don't accomplish on the next day's page until it eventually gets done. For a change from my usual procedure --- I will not allow these lists to become overwhelming. I plan to keep a running "Master Task List" in the back of this book and every job that ever comes to mind will go on that. I will just choose one or more from this when I think of it or one a day or something along those lines. This way... I only have to consider the doable amount of duties for any given day.

Just an idea for those who need to get the rambling, overwhelming, loudly yelling tasks from the head and onto paper!

I'll close with this quote:

"Fulfillment of your destiny does not come in a moment, a month, or a year, but over a lifetime." <Casey Treat>

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