Tag Archives: experience

Valleys and Mountains of Experience

My daughter loves to sketch and paint. She has a lot of talent. Yes, I’m biased but you can look for yourself. Talent can get you so far in life, but experience is always necessary. God gives us all talents, but He also takes us through many experiences in life to grow us to properly use our talent.

In Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1, we read of the leader selection process in the Old Testament. Listed character traits include those who fear God, who are honest, who are wise, who are understanding, and who are EXPERIENCED. The wisdom and the understanding comes as we continue to fear God and walk with Him. The experiences of life, the dark valleys and high mountains of life that God leads us through, teach us and stretch us. It is through experience that we become more capable.

Each of us are leaders. We are created to be leaders. But we aren’t where we are meant to be in life, and we certainly aren’t the leaders we could be to those we lead. Allow God to use you where you are at right now. Keep your ears and eyes open. Ask for Him to use you. Don’t be selective. Allow the Spirit to lead you. Serve where He places you. Soak up the experience. Glean from what He has placed before you. God wants to teach you. He wants to raise you up. Don’t let yourself get in the way. To be a better leader in your home, at church, in your workplace, on the field, you need to humble yourself as a servant of Christ, and forever remember that He both qualifies you and places you. Always stay focused on Him; always point to Him.

“But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” – Exodus 18:21 [NIV]

“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.” – Deuteronomy 1:13 [ESV]

 

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Much Demands

Responsibilities are important. Each of us have a different list of responsibilities. Some lists are more demanding. Some lists contain items that have an eternal impact. In Luke 12, we read that those who are given much will be demanded much—those who have been trusted with much will be asked for much in return. Talk about responsibility. This is something we can see in action when you look at every area of life. The older child typically has more responsibilities in the home. Those in management have more responsibilities than the team they manage. Those in an advanced placement class in school have more responsibilities than other students.

Consider everything you have available – your time, your talents, your treasures. Consider the opportunity you have (job position, connections, etc.). Consider the background you have – the experience. Consider all of these things. Now, read the verse again. You have been given this much. Are you meeting the demand? You have been trusted with this much. What has been your response? I’ve had people ask why I pour myself so much into Kingdom work. Peter said this: “For we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20 HCSB). I cannot stop speaking about Jesus. He has called me to speak. He has put His Word in my mouth. After I finish preaching, if I don’t feel like I poured out my all, I am pretty hard on myself. Why did I hold back? What kept me from pouring out everything? Why didn’t I let Him take the message further? These are the things that go through my head.

This verse from Luke is a great reminder to me. I have been given much. If I don’t pour myself out for Jesus, I am giving Him mere leftovers. I have been entrusted with so much; this is not something I take lightly. Friends, today look at what you have been given, what you have been entrusted—are you pouring yourself out? Are you using all you can for His work, for His kingdom? Are you complaining because of the great work before you? Do you have your responsibilities out of whack because of other things you think should have priority? Have you accepted the mission—your great work through Christ—because you want nothing more than to serve your Lord? Or are you on your own mission using the tools Jesus has given you to build up your own kingdom here on earth?

 

“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48 [NIV]

Reserved Hope

Reservations are great. It is awesome when you can make a reservation to be sure you have a spot. I remember reserving particular classes. I enjoy reserving a hotel room so I know when I’m traveling that I have the comfort of a nice room waiting for me. My son loves to reserve new video games so his game is ready right when it comes out in the stores so it is guaranteed to be there.

In Colossians 1, we read about this hope that we have in heaven. It is a reserved hope. It is reserve and waiting. This is the truth. This is what we can expect. We can rejoice in knowing that we have this reserved hope, this guarantee of heaven. We won’t lose our spot.

When the day drains you, when you are exhausted, when you feel like everything is caving in, remember this great hope. Remember that you have a space reserved. Remember that God has so much more for you just waiting for you. There are some things reserved on earth for you, things you need to step forward and claim. There are some things reserved for you in heaven—and one day they shall all come to light. Rejoice in this hope. Rejoice that you my friend have a reservation.

Because of the hope [of experiencing what is] laid up (reserved and waiting) for you in heaven. Of this [hope] you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel. – Colossians 1:5 [AMP]

Fit and Qualified

I can ramble off a list of things I can do, thing I am qualified to do because of some training or experience. I’m sure you have some certificates stashed away that say you are qualified to do particular tasks. But when it comes to serving God’s Kingdom, none of us is qualified to serve—God qualifies us.

There are times when pride gets the best of us. We start seeing the fruit from our service or we are on the receiving end of some encouraging words. When we see and hear these things, there is the danger that we will become puffed up because we will think we are doing something great. The truth is that we are unqualified to serve God. Only because He qualifies us are we able to do what He has called us to do in life.

I rarely remember much of what is said when I preach. I spend weeks praying and studying, but when I get up to share the Word He placed upon my heart, He takes over. If it was me, I’d forget what I was saying. I’d lose focus. I’d drift off topic. I am also unqualified to write. I don’t always use the correct punctuation. My spelling is horrible without the proper software to correct me. If I would stand before God on my own, I would not be able to even stand. Only because of what He has done, can I do anything. He alone qualifies. He alone makes us fit to share in His inheritance. Only He alone is worthy. Only He alone is qualified.

“Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.” – Colossians 1:12 [AMP]

Living in the Rearview

The guy in front of my car was swerving all over the road. Someone might assume that the driver was drinking or sending a text message. But what he was doing was actually looking at what was behind him while he was moving forward. He demonstrated how hard it is to move forward when you are looking backward. You cannot be successful if you are paying attention to everything going on behind you.

Life is like that as well. If we invest so much time dwelling on our past, we do not have ourselves focused on the present. If we are looking down the road we just traveled to see all the road bumps and pot holes that bounced us around and messed up our car, we cannot see that the car right in front of us has just stopped.

I like to think that everything happens for a reason. When we experience something in life; however, we cannot get stuck in that area. God always wants us to move forward in life. He has given us a purpose, and it is not to get stuck. He wants us to grow in Him, to mature as Christians. He has things for us to do, and we are not capable of doing much when we are stuck.

Some things that we experience in life hurt. We may have been hurt by a situation, by people that we care for deeply, and even by ourselves. It is okay to have emotions and to need time to go through the process of change. When we are going through change, there is always going to be some type of loss in our lives. That loss will bring you pain and it needs to be dealt with first. If it is not addressed, you will be as this driver was in front of me, swerving all over the road, focused on what is behind you.

If something behind you is on your mind, acknowledge it and take the steps to grieve for the loss. If you cling to it, not letting it go, your hands will not be open to receive the blessings that God has awaiting. While you are stuck, God is still moving. Being stuck does not help you to go forward. Being stuck only allows your future drive to be as bumpy as the last ride. God has so much more for you.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 [ESV]

There’s Always A Napkin

Today I decided to venture out to the shops with my children. Whenever one embarks on the road, there is always the possibility that one will get hungry and feel the need to stop somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat. For me, I can stop almost anywhere and find something that will take care of my hunger pains. I have never been picky when it comes to food. My children are not like me; however, and if a certain item is placed before them, there could be some hesitation.

Whenever we go to a restaurant or a fast food establishment, we are at the mercy of the facility. There are occasions when we can order it “our way,” but the reality of the situation is that we are not preparing the food and we are therefore out of control. We do not know what brand of food was used in the dish. We are not able to set the cooking temperature. We are not so sure if the green stuff is oregano or parsley until we taste the food. Maybe there is too much ice in the drinks when they are presented. Perhaps the napkins fall apart when used.

In my case today, I took my children to McDonald’s; it is something we rarely do because I’m not too fond of fast food. As we were driving down the road, I noticed we were not given napkins. I could not believe it. No napkins! That’s not how I do things. I always have a napkin for each person who is eating because it’s “what you are supposed to do when presenting a meal.” Then my pondering mind remembered the last time we stopped somewhere for something to eat. The bag I was given was loaded with napkins and I kept some just in case a situation like this would arise.

Those napkins were just what I needed today. God gives us just what we need. Even when we are handed a bag with no napkins, it is not the end of the world. In my case, I found some napkins I was given earlier. At times when we are in need, we are led to the solution like in my situation with the napkins. Sometimes what we need is right in front of our eyes hidden, and then there are occasions when we must be a bit creative. There are also scenarios when the napkins will come to us via an outside source. At the end of the day, we have the napkins. God makes sure we have what we need.

The big issue is to acknowledge that God is in control and that He will provide all that we need. Philippians 4:19 states that He will supply us with all we need, but many people have a problem understanding that verse. There is an issue with recognizing a need in comparison to a want. I need food and water. I want a piece of chocolate and some coffee. It is like wanting to buy only Nike brand shoes though any pair of shoes will do.

Having a preference in a brand is not a sin. The panicking and the inability to be flexible can be an issue. When we become anxious over a situation and firmly plant our feet in fear of losing ground, we do not allow God to move. We act selfish. We stand like a statue trying to keep ourselves upright. Our foundation becomes like sand, and as hard as we try to stand firm in our position, whatever it may be, we begin to tip. We slip. We fall.

When there comes a time that you feel an unrecognized need in your life, do not get worried. Do not firmly plant your feet so that you cannot budge further. As with anything, first take it to God. Also, try to understand if it is truly a need or if it is simply a want. When God created man, it was not with a label, “Must have every cable channel available.” It is not that we cannot have every cable channel available, but that we should not have our focus on that alone.

It is important that we have our eyes focused on God and that we listen to Him for direction. He can lead us to the napkin. When an issue arises, we also need to not panic. It is important to take time to think and use our experiences and knowledge to our benefit. God made us as creative beings so that we could use our minds for the better. A step back to reevaluate a situation can bring great results. Perhaps we are supposed to use what is around us to construct a napkin. Finally, there is the possibility that someone else could cross our path with a napkin. Some situations are for the glory of God. In the end, the napkin is always there. God always provides the napkin if it is truly needed– like with everything, we just need to remember to say thank you and to use it wisely!

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 [NASB]