Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whatsoever Gift You Have...use it to the glory of God

I have often been discouraged by my lack of abilities in many areas. Why can't I be affective for God in a certain area? Can I not learn to have new gifts? Why is it that I want the gifts that God has given others. I certainly do not have the gift of patience or meekness, and I have wanted a quiet spirit for years now. Reading this post from LeAnn Rice really struck me. Maybe I am not supposed to have those gifts. OK...I should have patience, meekness and a quiet spirit-so I will keep trying to work on those. But maybe God did not design me to have to gift of ministry or comfort to the elderly. God created me to be me, and He gives me the ability to be me every day. My strength, stamina and energy comes from one source-THE LORD. May this article encourage my friends today as well.

From LeAnn Rice:

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Five years ago I took a spiritual gifts test and failed! Well, in my mind, I failed.

I had high hopes that the test would confirm that I have the spiritual gift of wisdom, discernment, evangelism or mercy. You know…a good, useful gift. A change-the-world kind of gift. I was crushed to discover that I do not possess any of what I perceived as “good” gifts.

Since I was sure I knew myself better than this silly test, I took it again. I ended up taking the spiritual gifts test five times! Sadly, each one confirmed that I was stuck with the frivolous gift of hospitality. Seriously? I wanted to be a wise sage and soul-winning evangelist, not a hostess!

Shortly after my testing marathon I read today’s key verse. Reading it a second time, my eyes lingered over the words “whatever gift.” It doesn’t say, “Only those with the gift of leadership or evangelism go and serve.” As I pondered this verse I realized that as a body of Christians we could not accomplish nearly as much if we all had the same gifts. I embraced my gift of hospitality and God showed me He could use my ability to create a fancy meal or decorate a beautiful table to make others feel special. I can administer God’s grace through what I thought was fluff!

What gift(s) has God given you? If you haven’t yet determined your spiritual gift(s), spend some time thinking about what you do well, what hidden talent you may have, and what you have a passion for. Ask your friends what they think your talents are.

Then ask God how you can use these gifts to share His grace with others. If you are a musician, consider playing at a local retirement center or soup kitchen. If you love to scrapbook, consider organizing memories for someone who is unable to do so. If you have great computer skills, consider helping women at a shelter put together resumes or teach computer skills to help them secure a job.

I have learned that my “frivolous” gift of hospitality is not so frivolous after all. Extending hospitality, simple or extravagant, is a tangible way to share God’s love and His grace with family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. My prayer is that every day God will provide me with new opportunities to use the gifts He has bestowed upon me for His kingdom and for His glory.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Purse, Bag, or Sandals

    June 5/2011
I was reminded yesterday about this blog I started and then life happened. So here I sit, reminding myself why I started it in the first place. 
Today's blog article is not my own. I was struck by reading this article by Marybeth, wondering if I was really ready to just leave everything and go if called by my Lord. So this is my challenge to myself, to listen to what God is calling me to do, and be prepared to just go and do it, leaving all behind that is my comfort. How often are we happy, feeling secure in what we have or what is happening in our lives? What if we were asked to walk away from it all? Would we be ok with just living on faith, in what our Heavenly Father had planned for us? Let us remember that He gave up it all to be our Salvation.
Love you all

by: Marybeth Whalen

“Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ ‘Nothing,’ they answered.’” Luke 22:35 (NIV)

I am a champion list maker and detailed packer. I’ve learned when traveling to pack protein bars in case I get caught somewhere with no food. I’ve learned to take clothes and shoes that can be dressed up or down because you just never know. I’ve learned to pre-purchase travel-sized toiletries if I am flying. In short, I like to be prepared.

Being prepared feeds my illusion that I can somehow control my future.

In Matthew 10 Jesus calls the disciples, gives them authority in His name and sends them out, telling them to go minister to the lost sheep of Israel. He then tells them to take nothing with them — no money, no bag of belongings, not even sandals for their journey. Can you imagine being sent out like this? No time to pack. No time to shop. No time to make a list. Just go. The planner in me shudders at the thought.

And yet the disciples do just as Jesus asks. They return and later, in Luke 22:35, we get “the rest of the story.” When Jesus sent them out with nothing they lacked nothing.

This verse jumped out at me when I read it. I thought of my own propensity to prepare. I thought of the panic that would rise up in me if I’d been asked by Jesus to just go. Then I thought of the many times I’ve let my need to prepare actually become a cover for simply not obeying.

Instead of taking action, I’ve stalled. My excuses sound really good — even biblical: I need more time to pray. I need to make a list of pros and cons. I need to talk to some friends, receive wise counsel. I need to spend more time reading the Bible. I need confirmation.

While these are all good things, I am not sure God means for me to do them all every time. Sometimes I think He just wants us to obey like He asked the disciples to do. But the truth is, the thought of venturing into Jesus’ call and trusting Him to provide as we do feels… dangerous. It goes against our penchant for planning and our strong desire to control.

As His disciples, He wants us to have the kind of faith it takes to say “yes Lord, I will go.” He wants us to fully trust in His ability to provide our every need, overcome our every complication, and supply every piece of information.

Perhaps God has asked you to do something that feels a bit like running out without purse, bag or sandals. Maybe He’s asking you to go on a mission trip that scares you, to reach out to someone who frightens you, to tackle a problem that feels bigger than you… and you feel unprepared.

Jesus wants us to step out in faith, trusting that, like the disciples, on the other side of this adventure we will be able to say that we lacked nothing. Sometimes we don’t need purse, bag or sandals. What we need most is faith in Him.

Monday, December 20, 2010

God speaks in wonderous ways....His wonders to perform.

Isaiah 43:

16 This is what the LORD says—
  he who made a way through the sea,
  a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
  the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
  extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
***18 “Forget the former things;
  do not dwell on the past.
***19 See, I am doing a new thing!
  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
  and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 44:

1 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
  Israel, whom I have chosen.
2 This is what the LORD says—
  he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
  and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
  Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
  and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
  and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
  like poplar trees by flowing streams.
5 Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’;
  others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’
  and will take the name Israel.
6 “This is what the LORD says—
  Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
  apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
  Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
  and what is yet to come—
  yes, let them foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
  Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
  No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17, 2010

Isaiah 43: 2, 5

2: When you pass through the waters,
  I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
  they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
  you will not be burned;
  the flames will not set you ablaze.
5: Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

God always gives us what we need, the time we need it. This is my verse for the day. I hope I can remember it. I am thankful for God's hand in everything yesterday. He opened doors and has given us a peace that passeth all understanding. I am ever so grateful for His leading.