What I Can Do

Matthew 25:29-30

This passage is in regard to the parable of the servants. The master left 3 servants with different amounts of silver and expected them to do well with what they had. He rewarded the ones who were faithful and cast out the one unfaithful. The message –  to be faithful with what God has given us and when we are faithful, more will be given to us, to abundance!

Beautiful story and very mind-awakening.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get caught up in what I don’t have. I look around and start the comparison game. Women are infamous for it. Really, men don’t do this much, but oh, we girls sure do. We silently compare ourselves with our friends, family, coworkers, even strangers. We compare looks, bodies, clothes, makeup, families, spiritual lives, homes, finances, you name it – we can compare it. And, we get caught up in it, don’t we? But that is not what God wants for us. He wants us to have His abundance, whatever that looks like in our lives. God blesses us individually according to what is best for us. Our responsibility is to take those blessings and responsibilities He has given to us and grow them for the kingdom.

Growing these for the  kingdom is what we do with what we have. My best interests, nor the best for the Kingdom is accomplished by comparing my gifts with others. God is clear on this. He gives, we grow. Nothing grows if it’s just sitting there being compared. The hard truth we may find, when we take a serious look,  is that we are not very good stewards of our blessings and gifts. Ouch. Painful to think about, worse to realize the truth of it. But there it is, staring me in the face.

Here is where the difference can occur. Recognizing my stewardship of His gifts is lacking is where I can change the course of growth! Let’s take one that seems widespread. Finances.  We ask ourselves (and God!) as we see others prosper, “why not us”? Well, are we good stewards? Are we using the funds God blesses us with well? Are we disciplined in our management? Are we faithful in the tithe? Do we give cheerfully and liberally? We can ask these type of questions regarding many areas of our lives.

What about the gifts and talents God has given us? Are we faithful to use them for the kingdom? Are we good managers of those talents/gifts? God abundantly blessed the servant who faithfully multiplied. Are we multiplying what God has given? Listen, we don’t all get the same things, we don’t need the same things! God deals with us as individual children. He gives individually. He gives what is best for us. That’s a good, good Father! So what should I be doing?

Look at the gifts, talents, blessings God has given to me. Take a really thorough inventory. Now, be thankful and stop looking around me poisonously comparing. Then, do what I can do with what I have. Use the money I have well. Be a good steward. Give generously according to what God has given. If I can teach, teach when and where I have opportunity. If I can sing, sing! Sing in the car, sing in the shower, sing with the congregation, but sing! Don’t wait for someone to recognize your talent. Just sing to the Father because He is the one we worship. Whatever your, or my, blessings are – we must be a faithful servant. God will multiply and our blessings will be abundant.

So I intend to stop waiting around. I know the dreams that God has given me and I am in waiting for some of them, but I am going to faithfully serve while I wait. I am not sure when Jesus, my Master, is returning, but I want to be found serving – faithfully. Doing what I can with what I have. I believe God is smiling.

 

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THE HEART OF OUR FATHER

I almost couldn’t wait to write down the thoughts I had coming into work this morning!  Oh my goodness! I initially was thinking about a video my daughter sent me of my precious grandson. He was giggling in his own 5-month old way and each little giggle just erupted in my heart! So as I am prone to do, my mind continued to wander into thinking about that feeling and the feeling I get when I see my children and my grandchildren. I have two grandbaby girls and one grandbaby boy. And, I have to add that I am very blessed this morning to have made it to work without an accident, because of all that mind wandering! Angels driving my car this morning maybe?

As a mom, when I look at my children or my grandchildren it is like seeing my heart outside of my body. It feels as though my insides will absolutely swell and burst with all the love I have for them!  Doesn’t it? It is truly your heart you’re looking at when you’re looking at them! I know you feel the same if you are a parent. It is truly incredible the joy they bring. And as I thought about them I thought about my grown daughter who is experiencing some difficulties at work. Well I just happen to drive by the place she works and can I tell you I had to pray and really make a conscious decision not to stop in that place and give them a thing or two to seriously consider – quickly! I was on guard and ready to pounce. Never mind she’s grown and it’s not my place to do that, but that is my child they’re treating badly! You moms and dads know what I am saying.

As I considered all these things, I thought about my heavenly Father. He tells us in scriptures that if we, as simple humans, know how to give good things to our children, how much more does our Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give us good things. Oh how He loves us!! Can you imagine? When He looks at us how His heart bursts with love and how His heart is visible to Him in us! That is amazing to think about, isn’t it? And just like a parent,  He jumps to our defense when we are mistreated or hurt. He holds us close and whispers that things will be okay as we hurt, He defends us against our Enemy. Oh! The love of God! And He, because His love for us so great and His desire for good for us, His children, so deep, He will love us and guide us through the seemingly impossible circumstances we have brought upon ourselves that cause us such pain. How undeserving we are of this love. But really, do our children “deserve” our love? No, that love just is. They did nothing at birth or before birth to deserve our love. But how intense is that love the moment we look into that face, that little one so dependent upon us. And there it is, our heart seeming to literally beat outside of our chest. And it is so, with every child, and beautiful grandchild, we have. Whether by birth or adoption, it is the same.

Reflect:  How much does your Father in heaven love you? It is beyond your comprehension. Can you ever do anything that will make him love you less? or more? No. His love is perfect. All. The. Time. Run in to His great big arms, climb into His great big lap, and allow Him to hold you and whisper His promises of love and protection over you. Tell Him your hurts. He is your defender. Even when it’s our own fault. Oh. The love of God.

what you do

So, long time no write.  Been searching. Well, that and I have been feeling a little, a lot lost at what I am supposed to be doing.  I think this is it.  Choosing a path can be hard, especially for  girls like me who second guess, worry, ponder, wander and just can’t seem to see the forest for the trees. When you know, absolutely know God has a plan for you and you just feel like you cannot find it  —  well it’s hard. Now for those of you who don’t get that, I am really happy for you. You just see and you do. That must be great! Some of us are just searching and well, what used to be simple to do just isn’t anymore.  Am I confusing you?  Let me elaborate a little. If anything, I believe in truth. And I am usually pretty transparent.  I just want to share what God is doing in my life.

There are some things we know and sometimes we need to be reminded of those things when life just blurs the clarity we had. Like gifts, talents and abilities that God has given us. Have you ever wondered where your dreams went?  Now I know there are those out there who think that dreams are just that. Dreams. Not meant to ever happen.  I don’t think that. I believe we have God-given dreams and desires that He has placed in our hearts and we forget what those are sometimes.  Now listen I know life is not all dreamy and wonderful all the time. But some of the satisfaction and peace we receive in this life may just come by fulfilling some of those God-given dreams.  I am not talking about princes on white horses stuff, I am talking about dreams that make a difference for the Kingdom. When we look back at scriptures, there were a lot of not so dreamy things going on, so let’s not think fairy tales when I say God-given dreams. Think things like dreaming of foreign adoption – going through many years of heartbreak and then the realization of that dream.  Think dreaming of becoming a teacher, pastor, missionary, whatever, and through some really tough times, finally the dream is realized.  Not everyone will understand those dreams and some may even downplay the importance, but you know if you have one. You know.  Don’t give up. And let’s not allow life to blur or cloud or even kill those dreams. Why did God give you that particular dream? Because He has a plan. Remember, “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11); “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Jim Elliot, Steve Saint and others had a dream to reach the violent Waodani tribe and it cost some of them their lives. But the dream lived on and now the tribe no longer live killing each other; many now love Christ and follow Him.  Those things you dreamed of doing for the Kingdom that are truly for His glory and not your own, what are they? Do you remember?

Life had clouded and almost killed my dreams.  And even today I am not sure how God is going to bring to fruition these God-given dreams of mine, but I know He is. I remember them now. I remember why I have them now. And I will serve where I am as I wait for them to work out. I don’t know exactly what the fulfillment looks like, but I know it’s good. It takes hard work and sometimes the journey is harder than it might’ve been had we stayed the course and kept our focus on the Savior, but it will happen. I am listening Lord.

Reflect:  What are those God-given dreams my friend? Have they been clouded by circumstance and forgotten or almost killed? Revive your focus and drag those dreams out of the grave. You have been redeemed! Your dreams have a purpose and He can be fulfilling them even now, look around you. What is God asking you to do today? Just follow Him even if it doesn’t make sense. Listen with the Spirit who lives inside of you.

Until we chat again.

Lyn

 

New Directions

It’s been quite a while since I last posted!  The Thanksgiving and Christmas season were wonderful and busy, just like yours. I have been doing some reading over the last several days as I finally have a little time (well, okay, I was home sick – so I had time).  I just read LOVE DOES by Bob Goff and it really gave me pause to think about some things. Funny how many things I have been exposed to lately are making me think about the same things. It’s a God-thing.

So recently, as I have been anticipating our next semester in Women’s Ministry, I continually am exposed to women who are “busy”. Really busy. Really, really  –  busy. And then I pick up a book about love doing. I’m thinking “DO??” How can I “DO” anything else?? Oh, but in reading I discovered so much more. I encourage you to get the book.  Something in particular stuck with me that Goff said in his book: “Will you take what you think defines you, leave it behind, and let ME define who you are instead?” A question that God asks and defines in Jeremiah 29:11. He knows the plan. A good plan. THE plan. Yet we tend to ask Him to bless OUR plan and try to fit Him into our days. What is His plan? Love. Love others, give yourself for them.

Love is an action word. Love doesn’t just “pray about it.” Love does something.  Now look, we don’t have to do it all! God didn’t call us to do everything, but He does call us to “do.” First of all, Love. The greatest commandment? Love.  Can we forget what all of our plans are and just simply submit to, agree with and carry out God’s plan? His plan isn’t to make us so busy we cannot love. Love takes time. Love takes effort. Love takes giving.  Can I start this new year by forgetting what I think defines me and let God define me?

Too bad if God’s definition of me doesn’t agree with the status quo or what someone else thinks I should be or do. I play to an audience of ONE. It’s HIS stage and He already adores me. (Thanks Francesca Battestelli) yeah, not sure of the spelling.  Can we just STOP our plans and DO His plan? Instead of a lot of resolutions to do this or that, just resolve and determine to let God do the planning. What is it that lights you up? Do that. Light up the kingdom with your light. You can do it. And so can I.

Underinspired and Overwhelmed

[ Freedom in Christ ] It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
[ Life by the Spirit ] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Hebrew 1:5-8
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
There is no shortage of things vying for our attention during any given day.  Social media in any number of formats keep us up to the minute on most everyone we know. Every detail of our personal lives is posted for the world to see.  So thirsty are we for this minute by minute news, we lap it up like a hot little puppy does a bowl full of cool water.  Phones, complete with social media, games, newsfeeds and communication are never far away from us, even when we are engaged in some of our more private activities. Laptops, tablets, television and radio keep us entertained every waking moment and sometimes are running even when we’re asleep!
Media giants know how bombarded we are with opportunities to watch and listen; so they are always coming up with new, more dynamic methods to capture our attention and thoughts. The bigger the better. The louder the better. The quieter the better. The more colorful the better. The more black and white the better. And on it goes.
When is the last time you rode in a silent car? Or sat in your home with absolutely no electronic device in your midst? We are constantly stimulated by something, aren’t we? And we get excited about it too.  The newest of phones, clothes, homes, furniture, books, news articles, and more lay hold of our latest train of thought. Add all of these distractions to our busy work, home and church schedules and it’s like life never takes a break. It’s overwhelming. We crave more and yet we yearn for less.
And then there’s God. The still, quiet voice of the master of the universe is hard to hear amid all that contends for our focus of the moment.  We find ourselves less than inspired when we think of it. If He would just “perform” a little more, we could offer a little more attention. Churches are looking for the best new ways to attract new members. Maybe if the doctrine were not quite so strict or perhaps we could offer louder, more colorful service – really get their attention. And we, the called out and chosen are easily bored and honestly, under-inspired.
Why, we need something to be passionate about!  I mean surely there’s something bigger and better. Bible study is really rather bland. The music certainly can’t compete with the latest tunes on your music provider. I show up Sunday after Sunday and it’s pretty much the same. Blah. Yes, I just can’t get into it. Not really feeling the passion that is necessary for me to act or get excited.
Hmm. So,  the God of all creation came to earth to be a man, die an unspeakably violent death so I can live forever in the most amazing place ever; never die; and He has promised to make me free and to give me all the wisdom I need. What’s to be passionate about?
Plenty.  Christ came that we can be free!  Free from all the distractions that compete for our attentions. They’re out there, but they don’t have to overwhelm us! He said He will give us wisdom if we only ask. So, all those decisions about home, spouses, children, jobs, church, parents, finances and more can be answered by God. We don’t have to worry and lose sleep. We can have confidence in an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
Look around you for a moment. See the trees. See the sky. See the faces of your children. See your blessings. Perhaps we can be overwhelmed by the mercies and incomparable benefits of a benevolent and loving Savior instead of the temporary, seemingly urgent cares of the day. Submersion into that kind of holy flood can certainly become my passion and inspiration.  I am free! Free to choose the better. Free to worship in abandon. Free to love. Free to enjoy this life that God has given me. Free to enjoy the silence as I think about the love of a Holy God. Free. Wise in the wisdom of the omnipotent God. Overwhelmed by His goodness. Inspired to walk His path.

Imperfect Princess

2 Cor. 12:9 (AMP) But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [a]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [b]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I am a daughter of the ONE, TRUE KING. I am a princess.  And, so are you (if you’re a girl – if you’re a boy – well not so much – but you can be a prince)! I digress. As a princess, I am adored by my Father God. Yep, He adores me – I have an audience of ONE – the only ONE who really counts.  And that is wonderful! REALLY WONDERFUL.

The problem lies within my own missteps and folly. You see, I don’t feel like a princess sometimes, and honestly sometimes I don’t act much like one either. Now, nevermind that a big fluffy dress with bows, and rhinestones – you know – a princess dress – would look ridiculous on me; so looking like a princess is hard. Perhaps that is exactly why we are to clothe ourselves with the righteousness of Christ. His princely appearance is more than enough to cover us and we look perfect before our Father – the King! I know I can never look like His princesss on my own. So, it humbles me greatly and could seem hopeless. Perhaps that is exactly why we are to clothe ourselves with the righteousness of Christ. His princely appearance is more than enough to cover us and we look perfect before our Father – the King!   The understanding that Christ offers me His robe of righteousness thrills me to the bones and makes me completely giddy at the thought of being a princess and wearing a His really pretty robe (instead of my patched and tattered one) and receiving the admiring gaze and approval of my Daddy-King. 

Thats all good – here’s my problem.  Acting like a princess is hard too. I’m an imperfect princess. Mistake-prone. I can really muddle up my life.  BUT GOD. Oh, yes the wonderful certainty that whenever I really mess it up, God’s transcendent grace covers all my imperfections. In fact he reminds us that in our imperfections, His strength and power are made perfect in my weaknesses. Paul says that he bragged about his weaknesses because the preeminent might of God was spotlighted in his Paul’s weakness – and in mine – ours.

I love what the Amplified Bible says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – that the power of God may rest – (pitch a tent over) – on me and dwell. That’s pretty comforting and encouraging! God – pitching a tent over me – covering all my imperfect, broken, damaged, below-par actions and thoughts. Thank Goodness! Praise Him for all of His wonderful grace towards us!

Paul also reminds us that this grace is not to be taken for granted, but when I do Un-princess stuff – God covers it and He still calls me Daughter. He can’t love me less because I am imperfect – His love IS perfect.  This makes me want to change my ways when I realize how badly I do mess up. I want to be the girl God wants me to be. Why? Oh, because I want to please my Daddy! And its just amazing that even when I don’t – His love doesn’t change and my position doesn’t change.

Yep, there a times when I don’t look like nor act like a princess,but always I am still my Daddy’s girl.

 

Direct and to the Point

You’re reading another post? Wow! I figured I’d run everyone off with that first one. But, when God says “write,” well, I gotta write.  The thing is, what I write here will have already been a session with God talking to me! So, I’m just passing it on.  Hmmm. Could be dangerous. Could be wonderful!

1 Cor 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but don’t have love – I sound like a clanging symbol.

Ephesians 4:15  speak the truth – in love – so we can grow up to be like Christ in every way.

Those are in my words – my understanding of the scripture. Isn’t it rough when the bible speaks right to your sin? And really, we have to see it as sin, not an area for improvement.

So, I tend to be direct and to the point when I speak and when i teach. It’s hard for me to be anything else. And I hate conflict. These don’t really go together until I figured out that I’m speaking with authority and don’t really leave a lot of room for argument, so hence, no conflict. Great! No, not so much. Um, other people have an opinion!

So, should I change the message or should I be less than truthful? Nope. But I gotta temper my words with love. And grace. I love people, I really do. I also want people to quit whining and put on their big girl panties. Can you see the problem? People can’t really hear your message if they don’t know you really care about them. People tune you out if they don’t feel they can approach you. Have you ever had this problem?

Love is messy. Love is hard. Love is time consuming. Love is sacrificial. Love is…..necessary. And wonderful, fulfilling, beautiful, sweet. I love to be loved and i love to be shown love. Fact check: so do others. The people in my life want to know i care and that I truly do love them.  That takes time and sacrifice, but the returns are priceless.

So, when I speak privately to my loved ones, or from a platform to many, I must speak the truth with love. And I must have spent the effort necessary for them to know I love them genuinely.  And sometimes, I need to be a little softer in my tone and words. Okay, God, I hear you loud and clear. And I am working on that. Let me be a vessel of love to those you love and let me speak with love.

i really don’t want to be a clanging symbol.