Monday, October 26, 2009

Gifts and Talents

I often say that I cannot draw stick people. That is a reference to my totally non-artistic hands and mind. It amazed me that one set of hands can create beauty while another set of hands that seem so nearly like the other are fumbly (is that a word? i kind of like it). One person can solve all kinds of upper math problems while I am best at simple math on a simple calculator. Another can create music while some of us can barely carry a tune. Why is this? I know it is because of my Father God. He creates us each uniquely and individually and while it may seem that it is because of genetics that is only part of the equation. I have seen singers in non-musical families and artists come from non-artistic backgrounds. While it is true that God often works through genetics, He is certainly not bound by them! Creation is part of His nature and being and He does it all perfectly and looks back on it and sees that it is good. I will praise Him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! He knew me before I did and has gifted me for the task that is mine. Too often we waste the talent God gives us either by denying that we have talent, envying the talent that is anothers, or by using them for our own benefit and not seeing God as the author of them. For years I denied that I had any talent at all and envied those around me, dreaming of how God could use me if I could only sing or paint or speak. In other words I wasted what I had by desiring what I didn't. While it may be arrogance to boast about one's talent, it is not humility to deny you have any talent. God has given each of us at least one gifting and that gifting coupled with a passion for God can turn this world to Christ and bring glory to God. I know I need to see this more. Too often I don't think what I do or don't do matters, but it does. God says that He has created us for good works that He planned beforehand. It is my job to cooperate in those works and yours too. His plan is not about us getting ahead or getting period, it is about us being and drawing. Being His children and drawing others to Him. Turn your life, your heart, your hopes, your talents, and your eyes to Him and I know we'll be amazed at what He does with them. I think I will leave the stick people to others! God knows best.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday thoughts

Tomorrow is Sunday and I should probably be sleeping right now. Somehow sleeping isn't working. Today was an odd day. I had pulled a muscle on my side a couple days ago so was spending a day resting. I don't really like resting. I am a person who likes a purpose to my day and just trying to sit calmly is difficult. I didn't even have a new book to read so it was hard. Instead of drawing close to God I felt sort of in a panic much of the day. When you are going through a hard time panic can sneak up on you. I had been feeling pretty good this week, thinking all was heading in a good direction but today I didn't feel so sure. I felt almost frightened and I didn't like it. What if the worst happens? I have a friend at church named Terrianne. She has some disabilities from an accident and often says just what is on her mind. You know, those things that we think but never say! This week she was talking about prayer to me and suddenly said that sometimes she doesn't even know why she prays since it never seems to work and God doesn't seem to want to answer her. I am tempted by those same feelings at times. Life seems to be endless and full of trouble. Of course there are moments of joy and the blessings God gives us. I don't want it to sound like everything is horrible but today was a hard day. Terrianne is a wonderful woman of God and I know she was only voicing her frustrations. Her life is very hard and I know she tires of struggle. I bet there are lots of Terriannes out there, tired of the daily struggle, tired of trials that you have no control over, didn't cause, and certainly did not ask for. I know I feel that way. But then I hear it.... the still small voice of God and I feel it.....the gentle breeze of the Spirit. It is then that I am calmed, that I know, I can trust Him, even if things are hard and don't go the way I want them to. He is here, He has not left me and He won't. He walks beside me even in these hard circumstances and He will not drop me. It is then I get refocused, turn the TV off, read the word, listen to sweet songs on my ipod and write this.....and I feel better. Life wasn't any harder this day than yesterday but I got a little off track and had to get back on. Walk on my friends, get your focus back, worship the King, spread His Good News, rest in the knowledge that you are His Beloved.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Nothing to me is more precious than my salvation and nothing more real in my life than my relationship with God. I get frustrated, however, in trying to pass on that reality in my life and in trying to communicate this truth. I struggle as I share what I know to be truth with both believers and unbelievers. Believers, you might ask, why do I need to share this truth to believers? I am increasingly frustrated by the lack of passion and focus by those who are my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am also frustrated in my attempts to share my love of Christ with my Life Trek group. I know what we all need. I know what the answer to my attempts to share Christ and the lack of focus and passion for God. I know what I need, what we all need. We need the Spirit's breath in our lives. I need, we need, to seek after that Spirit as though life depends on it because it does. I may have that life. I have been transferred from darkness but not all have. I need the Spirit for my own life as well. I feel myself struggling to have the joy of the Lord and see myself sinking as I look at the need around me. It causes me to not want to look and to turn aside from seeing and I musn't. I must have the Spirit's joy and presence in my life if I am ever going to be effective. It is the Spirit that draws men, not me. Without the Spirit I am useless. Too often life just feels like a fight but I know that I not what God intended. I don't want to live as though I am beating my head against a wall. Jesus came to set the captives free. He left us the Holy Spirit so we could continue His work, to set the captives free. I see captives all around me, in church and out. I need, we need, God's Spirit so that they can be set free, so that His house can be full, so that "whosoever will" has opportunity to come.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Today's Musings

One of the hardest things about living in America is keeping a sense of reality and perspective about my life. I sleep in a home that is kept warm in the winter. I eat every day, in fact I struggle with overeating. I don't ever remember being really hungry, the kind of hunger that loses hope. I have never felt particularly rich, even though I know I am rich compared to most of the world. I choose to look at those who have more and who are not in debt and compare them to me. I don't compare myself to the poorest of the poor. Most of the time I keep myself sufficiently distracted with my own life that I don't see them. About the only time I focus on the poor is during Operation Christmas Child. I am thinking that is pretty wrong. I am thinking that I have more responsibility than that and I am feeling pretty sad. Today I felt this overwhelming grief. We have an offer on our house and are looking forward to being out of debt. I am finding it a struggle to not be enticed by things as I approach having financial freedom. Like those fancy phones you see ads for. But when I think of the monthly cost of maintaining one I wonder how many children that would feed. At least today I did. Most days I don't and I should. I am not suggesting that we go without buying things. But I think that all of our gadgets and all of our things fail to give us any lasting satisfaction. I am not sure how to get to where I should be in the struggle. I want to think about this clearly and rightly and I am not sure what that will look like. I know that part of bringing the gospel is in caring for those who cannot care for themselves. It is in choosing to see life the way it truly is and not just how it is in my surroundings. It is in realizing the deep suffering that exists and not turning my head but instead looking, seeing, and doing. I hope I can hold this thought and find that spot God wants me to be in, where I join in what He wants to do, set the captives free.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Prayer Request

On Wednesday evenings our church has Life Trek, an evening of dinner, visiting, and small group ministry. It is a wonderful night and I love being a part of it. I facillitate the High School age group and I love them. I'd like to ask you all to pray for this group of kids and for me as I lead the group. Pray that God will grab ahold of these kids and make Himself real to them in a way that they will understand and grasp. All of them are making life decisions and need God's help. Some know it and some do not. Please pray that they will all come into relationship with God. I and they need your prayers. I often feel old when I am with them and pray that God will bridge the gap between us and He is faithful to do that each week. Pray that I will rely on Him and hear His voice. Please pray that I will follow His Spirit. Please pray for the salvation of these students. Thank you.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Isaiah 17:10

I was reading this scripture today and it spoke to me. Mostly convicted me of how often I am contented with buds instead of wanting the full harvest. I thought of how often my thoughts are about church and how little they are about the lost and I am so sorry. With God's help I am going to change that, be less religious and more like Jesus. This is a great word and I wanted to share this with you.
10 You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines,
11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing... Isaiah 17:10
It doesn't matter how creative we are or how entertaining we make our churches. If we do not build it all upon Christ, if we are not passionately in love with God, we may as well not bother. The harvest will be as nothing. We may bring some buds out. I think of those who make decisions at one point or another but do not grow and eventually go back to where they were. Those are not a true harvest but merely buds. We must be the people of God, not the people of a church. We must be people of God, not people of religion. Revive us Oh God, and start with me. Help us to cast off everything that keeps us from bringing lost people to you.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I like to say yes. It is a pleasant word that makes me feel useful and fulfilled. It gives me purpose and life is tedious without purpose. I am so grateful to belong to Jesus that at times I can't believe that He accepts me and loves me. You see, I know the real me, the selfish one with irritating quirks that often drive people nuts. I know how often that I sit at my computer or watch a movie or TV instead of praying and seeking God. But unlike so many others that have been in my life, God's love and care for me are not performance based. He does not reject me over a bad day. It is a wonderful, comforting, and at times hard to believe truth. I am bad enough that I know that no amount of good that I can do will ever make up for it. Thank you God that my sins are forgiven because of Jesus. I used to say yes because I wanted so badly to be good. It doesn't work. Now I say yes because I love God so much and want everyone to know this same God that loves me. I say yes because I do not want my life to be about me or even about my family. I say yes because there are so many that do not have God. I say yes because Jesus did. He set the example for us on the cross. "For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45 I say yes because nothing else gives me more joy or greater peace than saying yes to God.