Posts tagged: service

The Power of Obedience

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By Paula Marolewski, December 16, 2009 5:01 pm

We’re very big about control in our culture … namely, we want to be in control of our lives. Master of our fate. Captain of the ship. But true power comes from handing over that control to God and becoming obedient.

It’s interesting to think of obedience as a powerful position. Typically, we think of it in terms of subordination or even as inferiority. Slaves obey. Servants obey. Employees obey. But God says that obedience is the key to victory and power over sin. And that is because we are obeying the one who has a divine strategy for winning – and who has the power to back it up.

Perhaps if we thought of obedience in military terms, it could help. If each soldier did his own thing and what he thought was best, the battlefield would be chaotic. Ammunition would be spent uselessly. Soldiers would be out-flanked. Dangers that would be apparent from a higher vantage point would be walked into blindly. They would lose their lives and the war.

However, if each soldier in the army obeys his commanding officer, the army will win as long as the commander knows what is best to do and has the firepower to rout the enemy. And that is what our Commander has – knowledge and power. In that context, obedience makes perfect sense if we want to win. Obedience puts us in a position of power over the enemy.


© 2009 Paula Marolewski,

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Poverty and the Value of a Cup of Water

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By Paula Marolewski, September 10, 2009 10:02 am

I recently read Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. It’s an excellent resource on the nature of poverty in America, and I recommend it. It made me want to run out and save the world … but I was instantly checked, because I don’t have the untold billions of dollars it would take to help all the poverty-stricken people in the world. A feeling of helplessness washed over me.

Fortunately, the words of Jesus recorded in Mathew 10:42 came to mind: “Whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

A cup of water. Now that, I can give. That might be a $20.00 bill from my wallet, a regular donation of groceries to the local food pantry, or an offer to provide childcare free of charge to a single mother. I can’t change the world. But I can change the world for a few people. 

Too often, because we can’t do everything, we do nothing. Don’t fall into that trap. Remember the value of a cup of water to someone dying of thirst.


© 2009 Paula Marolewski


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Love Must Be Sincere

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By Paula Marolewski, September 8, 2009 10:38 am

In Romans 12:9, Paul states that “Love must be sincere.” Now comes the hard question … do we love with sincerity in the church?

We certainly preach love in the church. I’m sure of that. I’m equally sure that many non-churched folk accuse church folk of being hypocrites … so something isn’t connecting somewhere, and chances are it has something to do with love and not walking the talk.

It’s easy to point the finger elsewhere. It’s harder to look in the mirror. But let’s do it anyway.  Consider the following questions; you get a point for each time you answer “Yes”:

  1. Did you ever say, “I’ll pray for you” then didn’t?
  2. Did you ever resent someone else’s success or prosperity or blessing?
  3. Did you ever say, “We must get together sometime!” and be glad it never happened?
  4. Were you ever in a situation where you should have confronted sin, and didn’t?
  5. Did you ever avoid saying hello to a new person in the church?
  6. Did you ever gossip about people in the church … or outside of it?
  7. Did you ever say, “How are you?” and not listen for the answer?
  8. Have you ever been too proud to say, “I’m sorry”?
  9. Did you ever refuse to give when you could have done so?
  10. Did you ever turn a blind eye to someone else’s suffering?

The list of questions could go on and on, but we’ll stop at ten. How many times did you answer “Yes”? For each “Yes,” you are admitting that you lacked sincerity. You claimed to love … but you didn’t act it out.

Love is an action verb. We treat it like a piece of cotton candy fluff … “I love you!” “I care about you!” “I’ll be there for you!” … but it goes no farther than the words on the air.

God’s love is active. It is passionate. It goes the extra mile … right to Calvary. There’s nothing fluffy about God’s love. Nothing vague when he says, “I love you.”

Since we are to imitate God’s love, Paul states that “love must be sincere.” It’s got to be honest. True. Pure. Genuine. Which means it’s got to take action. In II Corinthians 5:14, Paul says, “the love of Christ compels us.” Do you feel compelled by love?


© 2009 Paula Marolewski


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