Tag Archives: gifts

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]

Advertisements

Same Mold

I had a frustrating evening trying to fit a different brand mouth guard into the same mold as my old mouth guard. My old mouth guard fit perfectly. This new mouth piece was not fitting properly. It was not only a different brand, but it consists of another material base so it was slightly wider. Still I had this not-so-brilliant idea that I could force it into the old mold so I could replace my mouth guard with one that was the same—exactly like what I already owned.

Sameness is something we shouldn’t aim for in life. God made each of us different. We are each unique, each with a special role for the Kingdom. Each of us have different skills, different talents, different gifts, different circumstances, different experiences, etc. Why? So that we can be equipped to answer the call God has placed on our lives. I am a pastor but I will never be Charles Swindoll or Charles Stanley. We are different because we are designed for a specific purpose for our lives in the area He has foreknown.

Don’t aim to be the same. God made you to shine His Light doing something great. Find what that is and shine. The only mold that matters, is that of Jesus Christ. We cannot fit the mold, but we can know the mold—and we can live for Him too! It is a beautiful thing!

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” – Romans 12:4-8 [NIV]

Hard-Pressed Relief Outline

Hard-Pressed Relief

2 Corinthians 8:13-14 – “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” (ESV) BURDEN & EASE

If one member of the body suffers – all suffer – 1 Corinthians 12:26

Burden causes fatigue, struggle, drowning—become overwhelmed & even angry

Yet we are to “Serve with gladness” – Psalm 100:2

  • Delegation – You Cannot Do Everything
  1. Jethro & Moses (Exodus 18)
  2. Seven chosen for distribution including Stephen & Philip (Acts 6)
    1. Good reputation / Full of Spirit / Full of wisdom
    2. Know gifts / don’t serve in all areas – serve where you can give your all
    3. Not burdened that others may live at ease. Remember Exodus 16:18 – Manna was gathered and there was “nothing left over” and there was “no lack.” Each one gathered as much as they could eat.
  • Recognize Burden – Take Note When You Are Drowning & Speak Up
    1. Moses says: “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me” [Numbers 11:14 ESV]
    2. “Gather for me seventy of the elders… and I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” [v. 16-17 ESV]
    3. Two is Better Than One [Ecclesiastes 4:9-12] – “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.”(ESV)
  • Jesus Above All
    1. Guard the Gospel [2 Timothy 1:12-14] “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I’m not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what he has entrusted to me. Following the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (ESV)
    2. Keep aware not to take away from another’s walk. Equip. Empower.

Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV)

Download Hard-Pressed Relief Outline from Dropbox

Meaningless Gifts

I have seen many people buying gift cards for people just because they felt that they had to do it. They didn’t want to buy the gift cards. Some were very blunt about it. They were doing it because “it’s what you do” or because “the other person was getting them something” which meant to them that they had the “obligation” to do the same in return.

This verse speaks about meaningless gifts. The people were not giving gifts from the heart. The people were simply doing what was part of the ritual. When you think of it, the people were actually worshiping the ritual. It was all about the ritual, all about getting it accomplished. They were that far from God that this ritual was a routine to get done and nothing more.

God doesn’t want meaningless gifts. In fact, God doesn’t need your gifts. He doesn’t need your weekly tithe. He doesn’t need you to help your neighbor shovel. He doesn’t need anything from you. But He wants your heart. He loves you. He doesn’t want you to feel obligated to do something for Him, but if you love Him, you will want to do things for Him. You’ll want to serve, to help, to live your life with open hands. The gifts you present won’t be meaningless—they will be out of love. It will be a sweet aroma to God and He will be pleased. Not because you’re following a routine but because you’re pouring out love.

“Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting–they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings.” – Isaiah 1:13 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

God Gave

“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” 

– Daniel 1:17 [NIV]

Today’s verse says that God gave Daniel and his friends the knowledge and understanding.  Now in this passage, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are all supposed to eat what the king has commanded. It was from the king’s table so one would believe it to be good—fit for a king. However, Daniel “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine,” and he asked if he could eat his own diet of food (v. 8). The official agreed to let Daniel and his friends eat what they wanted for ten days. After the ten days, they were “healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (v. 15). This could cause some people to have problems digesting.

So often we look at Daniel and his friends going against the king’s rules and following a special diet of vegetables and water. We conclude that these vegetables and the water provided the four young men with better nourishment, as the passage states, and that is what we take from this passage. However, we cannot forget that it was God who gave these men the knowledge and understanding. God was and is at the forefront.

There are times in our own lives when we use our God given gifts and resources and find great success. We start to attribute this success to our hard work, our talents, etc., but we need already remember that God gave us everything—God gets the glory.

Today remind yourself of what God has given you and take the time to thank Him.

FearNotLogoMotto

A New Name

Since I am taking classes, I don’t often get the chance to sit down with my children and watch movies very often. With school on break, I had a moment to watch the Smurfs movie with them. At the start of the movie, I began to think back to when I was their age watching the Smurfs. As I listened to the beginning of the movie, my attention was immediately captured.

I never realized how educational the Smurfs were when I was a child, but there was a very important point made fairly early in the movie. The narrator of the film was discussing how each Smurf had a different name which defined the role that they had within the community of Smurfs. He spoke about how it was important for each one to have a different role for harmony within the Smurf society.

Like the Smurfs, we have roles to fulfill in society. We each have been given various gifts for which to use for the benefit of the Kingdom. Some people may be great teachers. Some of us are good at serving others. There are people given the gift to minister. We all have spiritual gifts. The big issue is how we use these gifts and how we work together in our society.

The Bible says that we are part of one body. We each have a purpose. Romans 13:4-5a states: “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly” (NASB). Therefore, we should be using our gifts wisely, and we should also be respecting the gifts of others. We each play our part.

If not sure of the gifts you have, evaluate your life. What are you good at? What seems to be your specialty? Ask someone close to you. If you know what your gifts are, are you putting them to use? Is there a better way to use them? If you know someone who is not using their gifts, find a way to encourage them and provide positive guidance. There are times when people do not recognize their talents or they simply need a little push.

The Smurfs names suited the role they had in society, but one of the main characters, Clumsy, wanted a new role, which meant a new name. He wanted to be a hero. This transformation of Clumsy is something we each go through as children of God. Names have important meanings. There are so many name changes that can be found in the Bible (ex: Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel). These new names were given because there was a transformation and an important role for the individual. As Isaiah 62 states, the Lord will give each of us a new name.

Like the Smurfs, we must do our best to live in harmony with our fellow Christians. We are to build up, not break down. We are to use our talents to the best of our ability for the purpose that God intended. We also can find great encouragement and joy in knowing that we are part of the body of Christ and that with His mouth He will give us a new name.