It’s January, and new beginnings and resolutions are on my mind. It’s a time to take inventory. Looking for something new, a new plan, a new focus is always exciting. But today, my devotional reading suggested that I look at what I have already been given and ask, “how am I using what I have?”
2 Timothy 1:6 reminds us to “fan the flames” or “stir up the gifts” that we have already been given. Wow, so much for looking for something new! Now, time to reflect on all that Father has already given.
First and foremost we have been given the gift of life at salvation as well as through the Holy Spirit, who is leading us into all truth. That alone is worth a huge “Amen,” deep, reverent thanksgiving and time of worship……. Adding to our list of treasures are love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, fellowship, hope, peace and so much more. However, the gifts that Paul was talking about are: evangelism, helps, administration, faith, knowledge or wisdom and even healing, miracles and prophecies.
I can hear the response even now. You may be thinking, “I don’t have any of these gifts.” Yet, I have seen one of my friends, who would say the same thing, give me give me a word of wisdom when we were sharing a difficult time. I have seen more than one person at church who is always there when things need to get accomplished. I have seen powerful faith show up during prayer time. The same with healing and those who are so good at sharing Jesus , those who are so good at organizing special events. We hear wisdom and knowledge from Pastor each Sunday. As a SWC family, we have been blessed with so much that we don’t label “a gift,” but it is encouraging and is building up the Body of Christ. But just think how much more if we were to give our New Years’ best effort to “fanning the flames,” believing the Lord for greater opportunities to share what He has invested in each of us.
Lord, help us to recognize what You have given and to be as willing to give as freely and graciously as You have, trusting Your Holy Spirit to lead and direct. Thank You Father, for prompting, teaching and helping us grow in our faith and service.
Now my “new plan” is a resolve to trust the Lord and walk in His love.
Happy New Year and Happy Giving.
The Day before Christmas
It was the day before Christmas, all heaven’s a stir
The Son of the Father is leaving for earth.
God’s plan for the ages about to embark
Light of the world introduced to the dark
The Father’s’ dear family now destine to grow
His star leads the way, true light to show
Angels announcing His birth this most holy night
Only shepherd to see this glorious sight
Son of the father now son of the earth
Destin to prove His invaluable worth
Beginning to walk down a long rugged path
Challenging darkness, its cruelest wrath
His walk of obedience defeating all fear,
bringing life for all around who will hear
Embracing each heart into oneness with Him
Destroying darkness, the power of sin
Freeing each child in Father’s great heart
filling them with His love and revealing their part
The plan and purpose of Father great Love,
Is all working together like His hand in each glove.
Watching and waiting, the angles and saints
Observing the miracles as His Majesty paints
His canvas with colors of life, with death and with pain
Then thoroughly washed in the blood of Him slain
Dark tones turned to hews of glory and light
Recalling the triumph of His power and might
Peace, love and joy display the work of His love
While all is recorded in the scrolls up above
The breath of the Spirit empower the Saints
To continue His work as the Master still paints
The other day, while sitting at my desk looking out the window, I was savoring a thought from my devotional. I was ruminating about James 4:13-16. It addresses the principle of offering our plans (or lack of) to the Lord. There were several trees in my view and while I was just enjoying the different shades of green and diverse shapes of leaves etc, I noticed a very gentle movement of one small branch. Then I began to look for the movement in the other trees and bushes. Some moved so slightly that they were barely discernible, while others were more evident.
I heard my heart say, “Holy Spirit, You are more real than the breeze than embraces these trees. Help me to look for Your breath in all that I endeavor to accomplish. Nothing You do is insignificant. Help me to discern the movement of Your Spirit and rely on it. What a joy it is to know that You care and want to be involved in all that I do and plan. Christmas is so full of hope and wonder….. just as much today as it was 2000 years ago. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Create in me afresh the childlike wonder that delights Your heart. Help me see Your touch in each expression of celebration, from the elaborate to the faintest whisper. I know You delight in all that Your children do to remember Your mighty, wondrous, miraculous gift of Emmanuel. Infuse our simple efforts with Your breath of life and let it be a glorious offering of praise and adoration
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“The secret things belong to the Lord our God. (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Perhaps nothing other than direct sin has slowed down our walks more than our stubborn insistence on having to understand what’s going on. Most Christians readily admit they believe God’s thoughts are not like ours. And neither are His ways. Yet many Christians don’t really act as it this is true.
Our minds were created by God to seek coherence and try to “add things up.” This is a great gift in our natural lives, a gift that brings us safety, understanding, and enjoyment. But in the spiritual realm, it’s somewhere between a demonic trap and an idol.
We can’t fully understand what God’s up to for many reasons. After all, what’s going on is not just about us. It involves many others (some we know and some we don’t) in and around our lives. God’s also not just working in the moment, but over time. His time frame might be months, years, decades, or more.
Most importantly, He is almighty God. He doesn’t look at anything like we do. Our perspectives are so affected by sin, brokenness, and simply being human that we can’t even come close to grasping a true understanding of what He’s doing at any given moment.
God’s Word is full of wisdom that helps us understand all we need in most circumstances and trials. Spending time with Him, praying, listening— these will bring us perspective and peace. Let’s sacrifice our drive to understand when things get hard – and replace the stress of this mental and spiritual strain with trust in His power and goodness.
PRAYER: Lord, please stop me short when I’m heading down the road of seeking to understand things that are truly beyond me. Help me to understand what I need to understand and give me a waiting heart that is poised to hear whatever You want to speak to me.
With permission from devotional by Mark De Pre’
Lord, I don’t feel very spiritual this morning, I don’t have anything to share.
“I am the same yesterday, today and forever”
So that means I don’t have to depend on my feelings but to trust that YOU ARE :
Encouragement when I am discouraged
Faithful when I am not
Inspiration when I feel dull and uninspired
Available when I am lonely
Thought filled when I feel blank
The creator of time when I don’t have enough
Wisdom when I haven’t a clue
Strength when I feel weak
Comfort when all seems out of reach
Understanding when I can’t get it together.
Beginning and the End, and all that is between.
Source of my needs
Strength to which I am yoked.
My Lord and my God,
King of Kings, Lord of Lords,
Wonderful, Sovereign, Just and Truth…………………
He is our Word for today, tomorrow and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.