Quick Nugget: Whatever You Do

“And whatever you do -No matter what it is- in word or deed, do everything in the name of the  Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17

“Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily-from the soul-as something done for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23

What a great motivation to do a good job every time, in everything I put my hands to do. God is my boss-not man. If we live for people’s approval-we will not only become disappointed, but we will soon become bitter towards them when they fail to stroke our ego.

What Are We “Singing?”

I had punched out for my lunch break, and was walking across the parking lot when something caught my attention on the sidewalk. A lady had in her earbuds and singing loudly and proudly to the song she alone could hear.  Yet, the guy walking with her, who did not have any earbuds, was singing her song.

Each one of us influences those around us. Whatever we are listening to, we will “sing,” and those around us will be influenced by our song. There are many people in this world, in your families, and even in our churches who are not hearing directly from God Himself; but they ARE hearing His voice indirectly from others who are plugged in and tuned in to God’s channel.

What are we “singing?” What will others hear?

Think about that. I want to be a conduit for others to connect with what God is downloading into me, until they can learn to hear from God themselves.

Just like this man began singing a song that he was hearing second hand, he still sang it loud and proud right along side her even though SHE was the source of music for him. Sometimes, WE are the only God source that people will ever hear.

This is a great reminder to stay tuned into The Source of Life so that we are “singing” Godly influences over those around us.

In other words,  “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” I Corinthians 11:1.

A Gift With A Purpose

“And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden
to tend and guard and keep it.” Genesis 2:15

The Creation story from Genesis chapter one, is one we’ve probably all heard. God created our world: complete with sun, moon, stars; day and night; oceans and land; land and sea animals; vegetation and man.  But THEN God shifted His focus in Genesis chapter two. His focus was one born of great love.

I recall the time I shifted my focus to providing my daughter with a surprise birthday party. Because her birthday is near Halloween, she had never had a huge party due to holiday conflict. My husband and I wanted to go all out for her: make it a memorable day she would never forget. We secretly planned for months. I gathered ideas…logged many hours on detailed planning… re-purposed items to create a nice shabby chic decorated yard. We worked on prepping our yard every weekend for two months. We invited guests, shopped, cooked and decorated. My husband and I were determined to make this a special day for her.  We worked hard to cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i.’ We put our heart and soul into this endeavor. We were so excited!!! We couldn’t wait to surprise her! All this extra planning exclusively for our daughter was fueled by our love for her. I imagine God had the same excitement as He planned His gift for Adam.

He already created the world, but God wanted to give something exceptional and extraordinary. God specifically chose a location; then planned, prepped and planted a beautiful garden with all the amenities. After all the work was done, He presented the gift to Adam.  Then God invited some special guests: every animal that He had created. He let Adam choose their names. What an incredible honor.  For the after party, God created another special gift: Eve. Adam had received God’s exclusive attention; God’s very best!

Adam and Eve were all about that Garden life. EVERY day, God Himself would visit them, and walk in the garden with them! It was euphoric! Perfect! No worries, just right! YET God had given them a job; a mission; and a purpose.

To Tend: have care of or look after; manage or run
To Guard: watch over or shield from danger or harm; protect against a challenge or attack
To Keep: retain rights to

Wow, this raises a few questions for me like: How could they lose rights to the garden….to the gift that God had given them? Protect it from WHAT danger…..wasn’t everything euphoric and perfect?

Like Adam and Eve, God has given US many precious gifts like:
Salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) (Romans 12:6-8) (1Peter 4:10-11)
Ministries (I Timothy 1:12)
Children (Psalm 127:3)

And we have that same mandate because the enemy is waiting for any opportunity to steal what God has given us, just like he did Adam and Eve. Each gift from God has a purpose! WE have been given the responsibility to tend to these gifts; to guard them; and more importantly, to retain the rights to them! These gifts were intended for us, and belong to us! Let’s keep them, and use them for His glory!

 

If You Want A Bonfire, Why Are You Collecting Twigs?

I love it when my husband Mike builds a fire for our indoor fire place or outdoor fire pit. The first thing he does is prepare. He walks around our yard gathering dry twigs and small sticks, also known as starter wood. He places the small twigs atop balled up newspaper and poof! Fire! But my husband doesn’t leave the fire, he watches and tends to it, because starter fires don’t last long as those dry twigs are too quickly consumed. Next step is adding larger pieces of dry wood to maintain a healthy strong fire.

I also love it when my husband shares with me spiritual nuggets he received during his private time with God. This devotion is one of his spiritual nuggets.  In sum, we all want a nice roaring spiritual fire at our churches. But we aren’t willing to put in the spiritual preparation time outside of church. That’s right, the fire at church doesn’t originate at church: it begins within the hearts of each one of us. But many people blame the Praise & Worship Team or the Pastor for not stoking their twiggy fire! If you want to experience the fire on Sunday, stop bringing twigs!!

“Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.” Leviticus 6:13

It is our responsibility to fan the flames; to keep it burning by adding fuel; and then to lay down our sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15)! Spending time daily in the Presence of God is like cutting substantial pieces of fire wood that we can bring with us on Sunday: it keeps the fire continually burning!

Do we eat only once a week? Gas up the car only once a year? Tend the lawn only once each summer? Sleep only one night a week? Surely you see where this is going? We need to tend to our spiritual needs DAILY, just like we tend to our physical needs! No one else can do this for us. When we neglect the Presence of God, our flame dies out. If you want the fire, you’ve got the gather wood!

Repurposed

Being born October 28, my daughter never had a huge birthday party: partly because of the conflict of Halloween festivities.  So on her seventeenth birthday we decided to make it happen. It was a BIG deal for us! We wanted it special for her, but we didn’t have a lot of money to sink into this, so we got creative. We went shopping at second hand shops and thrift stores. We saw items that had been discarded by others; items that were past their prime; items that were calling my name!

An old wooden door that once stood sentinel for someone’s home became a huge deck table.  A discarded wooden storm door from up the street, was transformed into a photo booth. I made yard signs out of old kitchen cabinet doors that were long past their prime. Empty picture frames became chic little chalk boards. A bag of various fabric remnants became a decorative garland for our fence.

I sanded, tore fabric for the garland, painted, sanded some more, and stained. The work took months of preparation. But it was well worth it. Old and unwanted items; items with wear and tear; items that once served one purpose, now served another.

The definition of repurpose:         

To give a new purpose or use to….

To change something so that it can be used for a different purpose…..

This is what God does for us when He saves us. He cleans us up and gives us new purpose. He wants to develop in us our potential, our purpose, and put us in a better place. This sounds great! It IS great. But what about when you’ve been serving God for a long time? We can begin to feel a little wear and tear….we can even begin to question our usefulness.

Everyone goes through seasons in life: when one season ends, we can feel like our purpose and usefulness is ending as well. We can begin to talk ourselves right out the next season God wants to prepare us for. “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.” Proverbs 19:21. God has plans for our entire life. Just like I changed a door into a table, God changes us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Our purpose may change, but our usefulness is never over!

God wants to repurpose our lives…..not once…..but continually: from glory to glory! As long you as you have breath in your body, know that God has a purpose and a plan for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Learning My Value

We’ve all had moments at church, in ministry,  or at work where we felt our absence wouldn’t be missed. I admit that I’ve felt that way before. Maybe we felt that way because we weren’t “doing” anything anyway.  Ever thought: the show will go on because I’m not a contributor; I’m not needed; or I’m just there. Well, let me burst your bubble!!

“Your value isn’t in the doing-it’s in the learning!”

You aren’t valuable because of what you DO- You’re valuable because you are LEARNING to do what God has called you to do.

Never feel like your presence at a practice, a meeting, at work, or church is unimportant. You are learning something. You are learning from your leader, your Pastor, your boss. You are learning from the process. Learn all you can so that when the time comes, you will be seasoned and ready to DO the thing God had planned for you all along.

You’re time is coming!! Learn, prepare and be ready!! “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

Anointing the Talent

Greater anointing is not found in increasing talents and skills, or by getting a degree to serve in ministry. These things are good, but alone they are useless and empty without the anointing.

Time in God’s Presence anoints the talent.

I’ve seen many crazy talented people use their gifts in ministry.  But it doesn’t amount to much without God’s anointing. To illustrate, think of the account in scripture when Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 with just FIVE loaves of bread and TWO fish.

WITHOUT the anointing, I’m guessing that perhaps a small group of 5-7 people could have been fed by this good meal. A meal that had been prepared for just such a purpose: to feed and nourish. But it would only go so far.

WITH the anointing, not only were more than 5,000 fed as much as they wanted, but there was enough left over to fill twelve baskets using the five loaves of bread and two fish. How did this happen?

The simple answer: time in the presence of Jesus changes everything. The complicated answer: time in the presence of Jesus changes everything.

Let me encourage you to never think what you have to offer is too small or insignificant. Whatever you do have know this: spending more time with God can amplify, multiply and intensify your skills and talents.

Related scriptures:
Mathew 14:13-21