Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our Gifts and How We Use Them

Scripture tell us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. Since we know Scripture to be true, the question is this: Do we use those good and perfect gifts for our own glory or for His? 

Our answer ought to be: We use His gifts for His glory. As children of the Father of heavenly lights, we are to reflect His light before men in order that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. 

Are you doing that? Ask yourself:

What are my good and perfect gifts (talents)? 
Do I use them for God's glory or my own?
Have I received talents I've not yet explored? 
Have I been given opportunities I've not yet pursued?

Remember the song we sang as children:

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel . . . no!
I'm gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel . . . no!
I'm gonna let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Life is a vapor: we can't claim tomorrow. Therefore, if we want to make our lives count for eternity, we must remember to use the gifts God gives us today and let our lights shine brightly!

Friday, April 30, 2010


Today being National Honesty Day, let's consider how we communicate.

Proverbs 30 has much to say about good and bad communication. For example:

"Every word of God is pure" (verse 5)

"Remove falsehood and lies far from me" (verse 8)

"Do not malign a servant to his master,
lest he curse you, and you be found guilty" (verse 10)

"If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth" (verse 32)

If every word of God is pure, then we as His children should strive for purity of speech. We should remove falsehood and lies far from our tongues--and if we need help, God is happy to oblige! 

We should not be involved in slander. But if we are called to testify against evil, we should do so with integrity and honesty--and purity of heart.

We should be careful not to exalt ourselves. Rather we should let God, who sees all things, honor us in His own time as He sees fit.

When it comes to communication, the bottom line is this from Psalm 19:14: May the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in God's sight for He is our strength and our Redeemer.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Garbage Day

They come faithfully once a week to cart away our trash. Of course, they do. We pay them. If we didn't pay them, they wouldn't come.

That makes it all the more amazing that the God of the universe freely carts away our trash--pride, lies, stealing, gossip, murder, slander--each and every time His children ask. He promised!

"If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~I John 1:9

More than just cart away our trash, God purifies us from all unrighteousness--sprays us with Lysol, if you will, so that even the stench of our sin is removed. How thorough He is! So ready to forgive!

How about us? Are we quick to forgive those who have trespassed against us? Are we willing to forgive seventy times seven? Say, that would be a good sin to confess. Like Golem of LOTR, tell that unforgiving spirit to "LEAVE and don't come back!" And ask God to cart it off with the trash.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Trying Times

American Revolutionary patriot and political theorist Thomas Paine wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls." And indeed they were turbulent times! Change was in the air and change always brings dissension . . .  dissension that tries men's souls.

How are things so different today? Change is in the air and we question whether the changes under consideration will help or harm our nation. At the same time, we wonder about rampant sin being committed in the name of freedom of choice. These are the times that try men's souls.

How were things so different in Bible times? Lot's righteous soul was vexed by the evil choices people were making all around him. That was just before God passed judgment on the land.

The lesson for us is this: God knows what's going on all around us and, at the appointed time, He will "rescue godly men from trials and hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment" (2 Peter 2:9). Like Lot, our job is to set our eyes on the Lord, do what He says, and not look back.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight."
~Proverbs 3:5-6

Do you need peace in your soul? Then remember to let God be God in your life. Trust Him.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You Can't Hurry Love--or Anything Worth Having!

Years ago the Supremes, a popular singing group, had a hit with You Can't Hurry Love. The words are true. You can't hurry love--it has to grow naturally between individuals who want to get to know one another at a deeper level.

And isn't that true of anything worth having?

As a new believer, I wanted my prayers to sing with truth and maturity like those of the old-timers, the ones who had walked with God for years. I recall the day one dear saint sang "The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows." He spoke of a relationship that had taken years to build.  

Over time, as I've yielded more of my heart to God, He has faithfully shown me more of Himself. A relationship that began with a mustard seed of faith has grown into a mature shrub, by God's grace.

You can't hurry love--or anything worth having.

They say it takes ten thousand hours to become proficient at a new skill. That's five years of full-time work! So whatever you're striving to do, whether it's quilting, writing, caring for your children, or learning to pray, don't be discouraged if you haven't mastered it in ten minutes. And whatever you do, do it all for the glory of the One who gives you the ability in the first place.

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Do-Overs

At the writing conference I attended this week-end, I learned some spiffy ways of improving my manuscript. Of course, this will involve some restructuring. In a novel you can move chapters around, change scenes, even change dialogue.

Do-overs are not so easily accomplished in real life. Words spoken in haste or deeds performed in anger can cause irreparable damage that can't be erased with the stroke of a delete key. No, something else is required--grace!

It takes grace to admit I was wrong--the grace of a humble spirit. And it takes the grace of a humble spirit to accept the apology of the one who hurt me.

A humble spirit is sadly underrated! Many people consider humility a sign of weakness, the scourge of the underdog. On the contrary! Humility is a sign of strength--strength that will carry us to heaven where Jesus awaits us. 

It was pride that cost Lucifer his exalted spot in heaven, pride that cost Adam and Eve their place in Eden, pride that drives lost souls to hell.

Some things can't be "do-overs" but they can be made right by swallowing our pride and doing what needs to be done in a spirit of humility.