Friday, March 26, 2010

Giving More

"We have different gifts according to the grace given to us; let us do it cheerfully." (Romans 12)

I often ask myself, and seek God in prayer on "exactly what are my gifts? What more should/can I be doing?" I don't want to neglect my service to God, and want to live up to my responsibility as a Christian to give all of myself as I can. I believe that God has blessed me with many gifts that I haven't even discovered yet, and I pray that I will operate up to the level of His calling. I know that God has something bigger and greater in mind and that He has a purpose for my life.

As John Burke writes in Soul Revolution "I have learned that if we are truly willing to respond, the Greatest mind in the universe has a plan to use willing people to do His work in this world. He wants to include you in His dream for humanity. All you have to do is stay connected, willing, and responsive, and you and your friends will be amazed at what God will do through you. According to God, the path to true wealth is counterintuitive. It's not by worrying or hoarding more, but by trusting and giving more."

"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and glory forever." (Hebrews 13)

Many times I am over anxious and find myself involved in a service that is not gratifying and doesn't give me inner peace. I have to ask myself is this right for me; am I doing this for God or myself. I believe that it is important to seek God in prayer, listen, and wait patiently for His response, then look at my God-given spiritual gifts, my personality, and my leadership style to be able to passionately serve and follow God's will.

"Now there are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. All of these are the work of one and the same spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines". (1 Corinthians 12)

I am so driven to give more, and continue to passionately search and pray for  unique gifts that drive and motivate me so that I can share and contribute to my church and meet the needs of others. I am somewhat of an over achiever, and tend to take on more than I can handle which leads to stress and anxiety. I must be willing to trust Him to lead me to the resources that will enable me to develop and make an impact on peoples lives.

John Burke also writes "The implications are clear. God had given all of us different amounts. He wants us to use it to provide for ourselves, even to enjoy it, but He also expects us to invest it to further His business here on earth. Its not all for us. He wants us to use our creative capacities to make it multiply for good-to leverage it for His kingdom-building enterprise on earth."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Guilt or Grace

I have always been a very independent person growing up, and had to rely on my own choices and decisions. So I often push back feelings of shame or guilt when I have sinned or made a poor decision which may directly hurt another individual or myself because I try and justify in my heart that what I have said or done was right. Whenever I reach this crossroad in life and open my heart to wait to hear God's voice, I understand which direction to take and I can move forward with feelings of confidence, contentment, and gratitude. It motivates my response to a situation in a more positive and graceful manner. But when I take matters into my own hands, or rush through a decision without praying and grasping God's wisdom first, the outcome is one that does not give me peace, and I know that I am not being trustworthy.

As Charles Swindoll wrote, "You can stop hiding, stand before Him, acknowledge your sin, admit you are helpless to please Him on your own, and receive His free gift of grace. His gift is free, extended by grace and received through faith. So, the choice is yours. Guilt or grace?" 

My willingness to stop and choose God's way instead of my own, provides me with a heart and nature of character pleasing to Him, and my feeling of self is gratified.  And although I know I will continue to make wrong decisions (and when I do), I want to be guided by God's grace rather than guilt so that I can move forward in a positive reconciliation of the matter. I can choose to walk away from God's direction, and struggle all my life, or let Him nurture me into the very person I am intended to be. 

"What we need is a relational atmosphere of grace and truth, where we are not condemned even in failure. This kind of relationship continually inspires us to deepen our moment-by-moment dependence on God, rather than causing us to fix it for ourselves. It's only through our connection with God that we receive the power to genuinely change." "We all developed the habit of living mostly on our own, disconnected from God in a fallen world. We respond to this inherited tendency of humanity to go our own way instead of God's way." (Burke) 

I am growing and maturing to persevere and seek God's wisdom and understanding, and to bear my responsibility for an offense or wrongdoing, so that I may be remorseful and aware of my having done something shameful. I will choose grace over guilt to guide and shape my character. 

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God. " (Romans 5:1-2)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Joyful Confidence

We live with joyful confidence in the assured expectation that Christ will one day set all things right. It's the joy of knowing that we have been renewed and that we are in the process of becoming more like Jesus. It's the kind of joy we experience when things are going well and we can anticipate His coming again without unpleasant circumstances to distract us. (Swindoll) 


It's been a challenging week for me not only being away from family, friends, and fellowship while opening a new store, additionally I have been sick all week! And although I am always so optimistic and excited to travel, meet new people, and just be amidst the excitement of a new store opening, I am the worst "sick" person ever; I am not happy having "down time"! I often struggle pulling close to, and focusing on God when I don't feel well, when I KNOW that He has planned my days for a this case, to rest and slow down. So, this week I have taken pleasure and been thankful to God for peace and rest in my spare time. I remind myself that it is not my agenda, but HIS!  I want to believe that I can live through sickness and through health, happiness or sorrow, or any pressures and anxiety that I may have~with joyful confidence~ knowing and anticipating, with appreciation, what He has planned for me. I must be inspired to deepen my relationship and dependence on God instead of relying on myself to figure it all out.

"The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31)

"In order to soar, we have to face an adversity or challenge that is coming at us threatening to knock us down. Only then, through His power and might, can we rise and soar above our problems. When we feel overwhelmed and inadequate we have the greatest potential to soar, for when we are weak HE IS STRONG." (Tupyi) 

I am thankful for a week in which I have (really focused on!) concentrating on God's will for me, not being "self centered or self righteous" but experiencing joyful confidence that this is just what I needed! I look forward to returning home in anticipation of reuniting with my family and friends. I appreciate the peace that God has given me, and will make it my priority to accept good days and bad, praising God for the strength He has given me.......

"Mature believers experience a kind of joy that transcends all other considerations because it is anchored in their "peace with God," their reconciled relationship with the Almighty. They live with joyful confidence despite the afflictions of a fallen world, despite the physical consequences of past sin, even despite their failure to live as they ought." (Swindoll)