Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Do you ever wonder if what you do matters?

Do you ever feel like what you do does not matter? And maybe you tell yourself, "I am not the ___. So what does it matter?" You fill in the blank. As I read about the choosing of seven leaders full of faith and the spirit to become table servers in Acts 6 so the disciples could devote themselves to prayer and the Word, I noticed that after praying over the seven table servers we are told, "So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples increased..." 

Do you see how each person's part is so important? Seven full of faith and spirit led people can make a huge difference as a table server. We might wonder, Is this because it gave the disciples more time to pray, study, and share?  Or is it because the seven are so full of faith and spirit led that they are doing the ministry where they are as they serve? 

I would like to say, "Yes!" to both! 

The first table server mentioned was Stephen. Stephen was so full of God's grace and power that great wonders and signs came from him and people noticed.  Opposition arose against him. Yet, the opposition could not stand up against Stephen's wisdom so they plotted against him and stoned him to death. 

Stephen was a table serving Saint! And the first Christian martyr written about in Acts.

Do you get it? Whereever you go there you are! Whatever you do you are supposed to be! Give what you have as you go. It is never about the position. It is about who you are as you do! 

If we humble ourselves and ask by faith for the Holy Spirit to fill us with His presence, power, and grace. He will answer, "Yes!" That is a prayer God will not say, "No!" to if we seek to do it for His glory. 

Beloved, you matter right where you are, right where you are at! God will use you if you ask. 

Do you live your life right where you are so full of faith and the Spirit of God so that the Word of God spreads because of you?

Why not? 

And if yes! I imagine there is a bit of shine on your countenance!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Growth Over Movement

Have you ever noticed that true growth is never about the other, but about you? I literally can reflect on images in my mind of times when I really wanted God to do something in another person, but when I stopped and took time to pray and seek the LORD, He always showed me that He wants growth in me not movement. 

I have discovered that when I focus on the other person's "issue" or "fault" I toss to and fro. When I am in a pendulum of movement it has no place to stop because I cannot control another. I can only control me. So, when I pause and ask God to grow me, I stop tossing and become peaceably settled because I begin to move from the Spirit's grace and gifting and not my need for control or even revenge. 

I love it when I live in it. I hate it when I don't. Because movement causes motion sickness, but growth bears good fruit. 

I found some rich truths that bring spiritual growth in my life. These are not exhaustive, but they help me settle in and stop being tossed to and fro. May you might find this to be true for you, too.

Dwelling richly in Ephesians 4:1-16 (Consider reading it).

1. I am called to live a life worthy of the calling I have received in Christ. I am also called to the 7 fold Oneness in Christ.

2. When I dwell richly in Christ I am able to be humble, gentle, patient, in the Spirit, and in peace.

3. The actions I must take are bearing with others, loving others, and making every effort to keep spiritual unity with others.

4. I have received the gift of grace (kindness of God) and leadership gifts by God. 

5. I am to use the grace and gifts to serve, build up, grow the unity of faith, and to encourage maturity, wholeness, and the full measure of Christ among those who believe. 

6. I am to guard against being spiritually an infant, being tossed to and fro by every kind of teaching, craftiness, and scheming.

7. I am to seek growth over movement by speaking truth in love, growing, maturing, building up in love, and doing my part.

This morning as I found myself once again tossing to and fro God used these seven reminders of who I am and what I am called. Generous grace will bear witness. I may not ever see it, but I can trust the gift of this truth. 

Father, please help me to grasp grace (Your loving kindness) so that I might live a life that is gracious and full of generous gratitude that brings growth for Your glory. In Jesus name amen.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

What is Bible Engagement?

What is Bible Engagement? What makes Bible Engagement so important? When I was a young girl in my 20’s in college, I would treat the Bible as if it was a Russian roulette game. I would take my Bible and flip it open and randomly read whatever popped up on the page. In my mind I had this idea that somehow that was what God wanted me to hear. I don’t know what made me think that this was a good way to engage the Bible. It wasn’t very helpful. We must remember the Bible is more descriptive than it is prescriptive, since over 70% of the Bible is in narrative. What does the Bible say about Bible Engagement? Psalm 78:1-4 describes for us why Bible Engagement is so important. “Oh, My People, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a Parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past-stories we have heard, and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation of the glorious deeds of our LORD about His power and His mighty wonders.” Psalm 78:1-4 Bible Engagement includes: 1. LISTENING to GOD and HIS INSTRUCTIONS 2. RESPONDING to WHAT GOD SAYS 3. RECEIVING FROM GOD HIDDEN LESSONS FROM THE PAST 4. SHARING THE STORIES to the NEXT GENERATION 5. PRAISING GOD for HIS POWER and WONDER Bible Engagement is intentional, it is personal, it is generational, it is educational and worshipful. Why do we want to engage the Bible? “And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light from the power of Satan to God. They will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.” Acts 26:17-18 Bible Engagement shows us how to rescue… a. Opens our eyes and allows us to see darkness. b. Shows us how to move toward the light. c. Opens our eyes and allows us to see the power of Satan. d. Show us how to move into the righteousness of God. e. Opens our eyes to see our sin. f. Shows us the forgiveness of sin is available. g. Shows us that we have a place among the people of God. We cannot know that we are set apart by faith if we have not heard! When we engage the Bible, it enables us to put on our new self because the knowledge we are gaining about Him changes us. Be in the Word. Be with Jesus. Be transformed! Shalom y’all! 😉 I am starting a new series on Bible Engagement! I would love your feedback. What would you like to see in the series? What aspects of Bible engagement was most helpful to you and why? What aspects of Bible Engagement was frustrating for you and caused you to struggle? What would be helpful in your pursuit of getting into the Word of God and why? Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback! ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2021

You Lack Nothing

You do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for Christ Jesus! Sit on that for a moment. You do not lack! You have spiritual gifts in Jesus. You do not lack any spiritual gift! Do you ever feel inadequate?  Do you ever think, I do not have the ability? I know in my life God has a habit of putting me in situations where I think, "Uhm, no clue! I do not know what to do!" But I have gotten in the habit of praying in the moment, "Help!" 

My step-dad has always said, "You have a hot line to Jesus!" He is correct in that I cry out for help alot! But, the reality is that it is no hotter than the next person who cries out. We all have a holy hotline to Jesus. If we ask Him for the words, knowledge, or spiritual gift for that moment, He will answer! We just need to ask. When I do this, I am often amazed and sometimes flat out confounded because He is so generous to listen and help me. Please do not get me wrong in thinking this is like genie magic because that is not what I am saying. This is about seeking to live, speak, and serve with words that build up and give honor to restore, refresh, reconcile, and redeem. It is not about getting what I want when I want it. It is a blessing when I get it right and it is a blessing when another does so in return. 

When was the last time you enjoyed this kind of conversational beauty? Would you consider today praying in the moment, "Father, please help me to speak and serve in Your Spiritual gifting and not in my own?" Then walk in obedience as the Spirit leads you in all truth for that moment. 

"I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed" (1 Corinthians 1:4-7).

Beloved, you do not lack!