Honouring Him, the giver of all Gifts

I set many goals for myself. My bio for a recent short story published in the ACW Christmas Anthology stated that my aim was to become a travel writer. For me that means attempting to combine my photography/art with my writing. I also speak a little Spanish so I ambitiously joined a Spanish speaking class at my church. And as if that wasn’t enough, I joined the art class too having done some art lessons prior.

Would I be able to accomplish all these goals….becoming a good writer and a travel writer at that, fluent in conversational Spanish, an artist? Deep down I would like to accomplish these goals and although not impossible, they may be improbable.

I took a step back and asked myself while pursuing them, are they in any shape or form honouring to God or are they just for self-gratification? Then I am reminded that God is the giver of all gifts and as long as I am doing them with Him in mind, then they are honouring to Him.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col.3:17)

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The Master’s Touch

When I saw this Friday’s topic ‘TOUCH’ I said “WOW! What timing as I recently had this idea of doing a piece of writing on the Master’s touch and which I am working on right now.

Everyone at some time needs a touch, a hug, some acknowledgement of knowing that they are loved and cared for.

My dad was the tactile one more so than my mum. I remember how he would tickle us until we couldn’t stop laughing, romp with us like a kid himself, play hide and seek with us, up to when we became young teenagers. His hugs were unforgettable and he would carry us on his shoulders where we would be so high up we could see the world, or so we thought at the time. He was also a good listener. To this day I tell people he was the best listener after God.

So how much more to us is our Heavenly Father who has reached down to us and touched us with His love by sending His Son, Jesus Christ who, in physical form, touched and healed all who came to Him, both physically and spiritually.

When the blind man came to Jesus, He asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”….The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” (Mark 10:51). What about the woman caught in adultery. “Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” (John 7:10-11). Wherever we need Jesus’s touch whether physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, He is always ready, willing and waiting to give it to us, all we have to do is ask.

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What Next

 

What Next?

I’ve recently come back to the UK for my six-month stint before I leave once again for Florida. I’ve just moved into a rented flat but with so many issues. I am reminded that before I left Florida I did ask God to go before me.

God did indeed go before me evidenced by the fact that the flat I got was not the one intended for me and because of that, I am in walking distance to a great evangelical church. (Something else I asked God for when I prayed for Him to go before me). They call themselves the twenty-four seven church because of their outreach in the community, especially to the poor.

It turns out that as this accommodation is temporary, I will be on the move again. Something I have been doing for the past five years, but which I do not relish doing for another five years or even permanently. And because of all the issues with this flat, I found myself complaining rather than being thankful, remembering that I did ask God to go before me, and he has! This town has been voted the friendliest town in all of the UK. It is also expensive to live here but I know it is where God has brought me.

Didn’t I pray, “Lord, go before me?”My pray now is, “Lord, what next?”

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Why Bother? I’m going to Heaven Anyway.

There are professing Christians everywhere. When asked what is their religion, whether it is face to face or completing a form of some sort, they say, “I’m a Christian, I believe,” or tick the box that says “Christian” they may or may not have come to saving faith, but what do they really believe?

• They claim they haven’t done and do not do anything that is unlawful or immoral.
• They may be Christians but do nothing for the Lord (not using their gifting)
• Some occupy church seats, week after week, year after year but do not allow the HS to change them (no sanctification taking place)
• Others continue to live like the world (hoarding worldly goods, unkind to others, unjust, etc.)
• They do not make Jesus the Lord of their lives (hearts not fully given to the Lord)
• Those who think witnessing to others is not for them, they say their gift is not evangelism
• There are those who do not raise their children/families to know God (lifestyles at home…swearing, etc.)
• Many do not make prayer a lifetime habit (only when disaster comes)
• They have a Bible but do not read, study or even meditate on it but leave it to gather dust on a shelf. They dispute that the Old and New Testament are connected but do not realise that the Old foretells of the coming of Jesus in the New)
• Some do “good” works as their ticket to heaven
• There are those who are afraid of death. Who have no understanding that Jesus conquered death and that death is just a transition from one life, the earthly life, to another, eternal life with God forever.

It is convenient and comfortable to live this way because it doesn’t demand anything of or from us.

But what about those who have come to real saving faith?

• They understand that the Christian life is a blessed and joyful life, and that this earthly life is short and temporary. That real life is long and spent with God why it is called Eternity. A life without end.
• That while they are here on earth God has a purpose for them
• These people find their purpose and live it out through studying God’s Word, helping other and providing for their needs
• In this life they experience the same challenges and struggles as everyone else but the difference is they have HOPE, hope for the future
• Why did Jesus come? So that we would have life eternal and live in such a way that it would mean something, that it would make a difference and ultimately bring Him glory
• We are not to keep this “GIFT” of eternal life to ourselves but to share it with others by our witnessing of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

Feel free to add anything to this list that you feel I may have missed out and that would be helpful to others.

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The Crossroad of Choices

I found myself coming to a crossroad. “Which path to take?” I asked myself. The one veering to the left or the one veering to the right? Both paths looked good, they both offered opportunities to accomplish my need at the time but I kept asking which one to take! Remember, they both looked good and appeared to be answers to my need. Finally, I made a choice. I took the one veering to the left.

I happily went along for a number of days, weeks, even months but all the time praying and saying to God, “Do not let me do anything that is not in your will for my life” But so much of what I thought was the answer to my need had such a pull, it made me determined to take the path I had chosen. The flesh is indeed weak!

Then along the way I came across an unevenness on the path that made me stop and wonder, is this God’s answer? I didn’t wonder for long so I kept going. Then a small pothole, but I kept going and, at the same time praying, but this time, more fervently. The path that seemed smooth for a while had become a fool’s paradise, but I happily went along, for days, for weeks, for months. Then further along the way I came across a hump, a larger pothole and a barrier up ahead. I stopped! Really stopped! Instead of looking down, determined to go my own way, I finally looked up, yes up! While I was enjoying the journey I wasn’t really paying attention! All along God wasn’t only hearing my prayers, He was answering them and provided His protection, grace and mercy along the way. I know it’s because I kept Him in the picture in spite of wanting to go my own way.

The paths, or should I say, the choices we sometimes make are not bad of themselves but if they are not in God’s will for our lives, we could end up in disastrous situations. Yet if we keep praying and listening for God’s answers, He by His grace and mercy, gets us back on the right path.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21-NIV)

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Burden Bearer

Burdens come in many forms. There is the burden of carrying things, usually on ones head, like some people do in poorer countries. There is the burden of worry and the cares of daily life. There is the burden of caring for others. But for me, the burden God has put on my heart is praying for unsaved family members.

As part of my prayer ministry team at my old church, praying for people was God’s way of equipping me to help others carry their burdens. And although you also pray for those you know generally, my heart became burdened to pray for my unsaved family who knew God but have turned away. During my quiet time one morning I heard myself say this prayer, “Lord, do not let one single member of my family leave this earth without knowing you.” That could only have come from the Holy Spirit because I don’t consciously remember formulating this prayer. As I continue to pray this prayer daily over the years, I feel a real burden to the point of tears and I know God has heard it and continues to and one day He will act. Maybe not in my lifetime but He will, I am sure of it!

That is the best burden we can carry. To see others that we know come into the kingdom of God is to pray fervently for them. Whom do you feel burdened to pray for? Keep praying, don’t give up!

James 5:19-20 – “My brothers (sisters), if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

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Knowing me, Knowing You

In our effort to come to know God, we are to remember that He first knows us. Here is what Scripture says:

Psalm 139:1-3 – O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Matthew 10:30 – And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

1 Corinthians 8:3 – The man who loves God is known by Him.

Galatians 4:9 – But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?

Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me –

1 Corinthians 13:12 – Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

…….and the list goes on………..

(Scripture passages from the NIV)

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Who am I?

Because of Jesus Christ…..

I am redeemed, no more hell for me
I am now a child of God, what better Father can I have?
I have Christ living in me, I can do all things
I have the power of the Holy Spirit, I have God’s direct guidance
I am more than a conqueror, nothing can defeat me unless I let it!
I am an overcomer, nothing and no one can stand against me
I have been called, there is no better calling
I have been chosen, above all else!
I have been commissioned, to go and tell the Good News of Jesus Christ

…….and the list goes on and on…..Feel free to add your own list.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.…” (Matthew 10:29-31)

If am worth more than the sparrows and every single hair of my head is numbered then I must be important to God!

That’s WHO I am.

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Worthy of Praise

 

We, as human beings seek praise from others and are happy to give others praise. I’ve just had my story printed in the Christmas Anthology by the Christian Writers’ Association in the UK and have had many congratulations already. I’m a member of a photography club in the UK and occasionally submit photos on their facebook page for which I get likes, comments and well done notices. I in turn, do the same for others, thought not always. Sometimes I get caught up with what I have accomplished.

Without God I would accomplish nothing. Absolutely nothing! Therefore I am reminded that praise and thanksgiving go hand in hand. It’s there in Scripture. We are made in the image of the Creator and as such, we are creators ourselves. He has given us the ability to create and we are to be mindful to praise and thank Him for that.

Whatever we accomplish, while we receive the praises of others and give praise ourselves, the highest praise goes to Him.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:10-11).

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COMPLETED, COMPLETING, COMPLETE!

There’s an unfinished book that’s begging to be completed and I allow so many things to stand in the way. Added to that, it is not an easy write but also I’ve been sensing an unseen force standing in the way because of the subject matter.

Meanwhile, I took up the challenge from my writers’ group in the UK to enter a piece of writing for a Christmas Anthology. Yesterday, I received an email from the organisation that finally the Christmas Anthology is now completed and my short story is part of that book of about eighty other submissions. I cant wait to see my first ever real piece of writing in print!

The bigger issue though is completing that book I mentioned earlier which is on the tough subject of spiritual warfare.

I had a friend visit me recently and what she shared prompted me to mention some of the content of my book. Her response was, “you must finish it, it is so needed!” While I have been receiving encouragement from various people over the years to finish it, I also would value prayer for anything and everything, including myself that stands in the way of me completing it.

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