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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Evaluations



While listening to my pastor share the message God had given him recently, my eyes drifted to a verse that I had not noticed before.  This is really a great testimony to the fact that all scripture is revealed by God because I have read all scripture and I never "saw" this verse as I did that day. 
Paul is writing to the Corinthian church.  He is talking with them about being Christ Ambassadors and he says this in 2Corinthians 5:16 (NLT) "So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them."  Hmmm.  My spirit grabbed that verse and I began to think.



I sure wish the world would evaluate us like God does. This is a skill I want more of in my life, don't you?  Sometimes I'm like Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias, "I'm not as sweet as I used to be". When I get angry, or moody, or grumpy, or have a bad attitude, I am glad God knows my heart.  He knows me best, expects the best and then works so patiently with me to help me reach my best.    "But we have this treasure (the light of Jesus Christ) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)  We are all jars of clay.  Most of us have been cracked and God has glued us back together.  The super glue of the Holy Spirit is wonderful!  I told someone once when her son had made a very unwise decision, "This is something he did, it is not who he is".  I need to remember this. I don't want to give the impression that we excuse bad behavior in others but it wouldn't hurt us to try to give others the benefit of the doubt sometimes. 


Paul goes on to say in 5:17, "What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons.  They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone.  A new life has begun!"  We are not the same.  Although God sees our heart, it would help our witness if we looked a little different from the world.  It would sure make it a lot easier for the world to evaluate us.

Until we meet again...
Live blessed!
Carmen

  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pressing past weariness...

Recently during Bible study, "Gideon" by Priscilla Shirer, I read this.  "Passion doesn't negate weariness.  It just resolves to press beyond it".   This really seems to be true.  What am I passionate about?  When I think on that question and then think about weariness and pressing on I see the areas where I press on. My dear husband always says we find time to do what we really want to do.  Not only do we find time, we find resources and recruit help if we can't accomplish it on our own! 

Where does that passion come from?  The Encarta Dictionary defines bestow this way, "to present something, especially something valuable or undeserved, to somebody".  I have talents and I have gifts.  The talents I have, I think, are things that I was born with.  Maybe things that were passed down to me.  Areas that I just seem naturally good at.  My gifts were bestowed by God.  1Corinthians 12: 7 & 11 says, "A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have."  God, The Passion Giver, The Caller, The Bestower. 


As I mature in my spiritual walk, God bestows different gifts.  It seems that at times I excel in one more than the other.  God has used me to encourage, teach, lead, give, serve just to name a few. (Rom 12:3-8) I have found that as I become a willing vessel, God increases the level of my gifting and my talents too.  I get better in certain areas.  Even my talents when dedicated to God and His plan improve.  Sometimes God enables me to do something that I cannot do.   Maybe something that seems insignificant but special to me.  Like arranging flowers.  I would love to be able to arrange flowers.  That really is one of my life long dreams.  I have no natural talent in this area but I have watched, listened, googled and youtubed!  So sometimes God allows me to arrange flowers and they look beautiful.  During those times I know God decided to help me do something that I want to do but does not come naturally to me.

Today I took a spiritual gifts test.  It was 85 questions (Oh my word!) to help me see what my spiritual gifts are.  I persevered and found the response interesting.  I will trust God to help me sort out the tests responses and to understand how and when He wants to use any gift He gives me. 

It is an amazing feeling to be used by God.  We will be wise to remember that without the power and ability given us by the Holy Spirit, we work in vain. Psalm 127:1 says, Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.

If you would like to take a spiritual gifts test, try the one I did.  It will not give you all the answers you are looking for (God reserves that for the Holy Spirit.  He never wants us to depend on anything more than Him.) but it will give you something to think about.  Some of those questions were convicting.  On some of them I had to remember that all of our gifts are needed to make the body of Christ (the church) be effective.  It's not necessary for me to have them all!  Leave me a comment if you try it and let me know what you think. 

Ministry Matters Spiritual Gifts Test

Until we visit again...
Carmen