Are We Giving Our Gifts to God?

C.S. Lewis stated, “God gives His gifts where He finds the vessel empty enough to receive them.”

How are we utilizing the gifts we’ve been given? Are we using them for our own personal gain? To get recognized by the people around us? Or we are using our gifts to glorify God?

So, how should we as Christians go about giving our gifts to the Lord?

We all have different gifts. Let’s use them to glorify God.

Well, throughout the Bible; we’ve been called to serve God with our spiritual gifts and one such instance is in the Book of Romans. In Romans 12:4-8, it says, “4. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5. so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7. or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8. he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

As shown within this passage of Scripture, the Apostle Paul, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit speaks on this topic and how we as Christians; despite our differences in how we interpret Biblical Scripture, we are all given gifts in order to bring glory to God and not ourselves. This is something that I continue to struggle with, seeing as how I want to use my gifts the way that I feel they should be used and that is seriously prideful of me.

“Despite our differences in how we interpret Biblical Scripture, we are all given gifts in order to bring glory to God and not ourselves.”

In a recent blog post by T.R. Noble of Inside Cup entitled “I Gave God What I Enjoyed & He Gave Me Something Better” she stated that “Every single one of us has been gifted with talents by God, but that does not mean everyone will use it for Him.” I agree with this quote by T.R. because we all have been given gifts by our Heavenly Father and not judging actors, actresses and famous singers but how we use our gifts can show others where our relationship with God really lies.

Our relationship with God in my opinion truly starts with our willingness to give God everything that we have and that includes the gifts/talents that God has given us.

Some of the other quotes within T.R. Noble’s blog post that I feel truly inspired me and prayerfully encourage you in your walk with God are just stepping stones to continue pursuing Christ.

  • What are we pushing off that we don’t think is a big deal?
  • “He taught me so much about what it meant to deny our flesh. It hurts at first, sometimes a lot. It doesn’t mean we’re a bad Christian for having this reaction.”
    • It means we are saying no to our flesh and selfish desires. It means we are denying what is trying to get us to deny Christ.
  • “… we sometimes see only the big temptations we want to get rid of.”
    • Giving up what is not Christlike helps me be an example, it truly draws me closer to Christ and makes my life all about Him. It gives Him glory and He absolutely deserves it!
  • Is what I am exposing myself to through watching, listening, or even playing, is it truly Christlike, does it stand for what Christ stood for, could it tempt me with deception and sin?
    • “… if anything you watch or listen to does go against Christ please consider how that affects your walk with Him. Even if it seems small… one day a seed becomes a tree. Everything adds up in our life.

T.R. Noble says, “Is what I am exposing myself to through watching, listening, or even playing, is it truly Christlike, does it stand for what Christ stood for, could it tempt me with deception and sin?

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NKJV) says, “4. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.”

These verses by the Apostle Paul to the people of Corinth should remind us as Christians today that we are given different gifts by our Heavenly Father and that how we utilize these gifts should bring others to Christ and not to satisfy our own egos.

In a recent article I read by Lizzie Milani of Pocket Fuel entitled “Giving and Receiving – The Receive Series – Part 1” and in the article; Lizzie states that “We take and we earn and we strive and we prove. But seldom do we receive. Seldom do we live in the movement of give and receive.”

What is truly interesting about this quote by Lizzie is that I feel that she is right in the sense that despite our desire to live against the culture of the world; we still take, earn and strive to better ourselves and not about the gift of giving to others and maybe receiving nothing but a “Thank You” in return.

In her article, Lizzie Milani has a couple of quotes that I feel we as Christians can relate to as we go about our own walk with Christ and learn what it means to give to the Lord.

  • “Giving and receiving is of one piece. It’s not either or. To do one well, you must learn to do the other.”
    • You can’t give what you’re unwilling to receive.”

Lizzie Milani stated, “You can’t give what you’re unwilling to receive

This actually reminds me of a song by William McDowell entitled “Withholding Nothing.”To me, this song is truly amazing because it captures what it means to surrender everything we have to God: Our gifts/talents, fears, insecurities, weaknesses, and strengths. So, what are we giving to the Lord? Are we giving Him only the things that we want to give Him?

CHORUS

I surrender all to you

Everything I give to you

withholding nothing

withholding nothing

withholding nothing

withholding nothing”

As the chorus of the song says, we surrender all that we have and give everything we have to the Lord God. But are we? In today’s culture it’s so easy for us; proclaiming ourselves be Christians to utilize our God-given gifts for monetary or temporary gain. However, this shouldn’t be our desire. What’s truly interesting about this quote is that as Christians; we must be willing to give up that thing that is keeping us from embracing the gifts God is trying to give us. 

At the beginning of this post, I did a quote by C.S. Lewis and I do think that it’s important that we allow ourselves to be empty of those things that we don’t need so that our Heavenly Father can fill us up with better things.

“… we must be willing to give up that thing that is keeping us from embracing the gifts God is trying to give us.”

In the end, though what are we really doing in terms of our relationship with God? Are we willing to give God everything? For me, I think it’s about time that I do because I know that if I continue on the way I’m going; it’s not going to end well. Everything we do with the gifts we’ve been given should be done to bring honor and glory to the One who gave us these gifts in the first place.

So, what are you doing with the gifts you’ve been given?

Are we giving our gifts to God?

Are we willing to be empty vessels for the Lord?

 

God Bless,

Joshua Reid

 

 

References

Milani, Lizzie. “Giving and Receiving – The Receive Series – Part 1”, pktfuel.com, https://www.pktfuel.com/giving-and-receiving/ . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

T.R. Noble. “What Is My Talent/Gift | Believer 101”, 10 Aug 2017. Nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com, https://nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/what-is-my-talentgift-believer-101/ . Accessed 5 Jun 2019.

“I Gave God What I Enjoyed & He Gave Me Something Better,” 24 Apr 2019, nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com, https://nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/i-gave-god-what-i-enjoyed-he-gave-me-something-better/ . Accessed 6 Jun 2019.

“Withholding nothing – William McDowell”. YouTube, uploaded by enyfo7. 6 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdnV75zIQUA . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

 

Picture References

Dail, Martha. “HOW LONG HALT YE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS?”, http://slideplayer.com/slide/3555664/ . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

Spurgeon, Charles. “God has a way of giving by the cartloads to those who give away by shovelfuls.”, https://quotefancy.com/quote/786350/Charles-H-Spurgeon-God-has-a-way-of-giving-by-the-cartloads-to-those-who-give-away-by . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

Unknown. “Romans 12:6 (NKJV)”, https://biblepic.com/romans/12-6.htm . Accessed 7 Jun 2019.

 

Resting in God | Building Our Relationship with God

What does it mean to Rest in God?

Well, throughout the Bible, we oftentimes see this word “rest” through the lens of God resting after Creation but what I’m talking about is a different kind of rest. In my opinion, I define resting in God as a state of surrender to Him; being willing to listen to His voice when we are lost.

Are we stopping and listening to God?

Psalms 46:10 (NKJV) says, “10. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

As Psalms 46:10 says, we are to be still and recognize that He is God. But how can we do this when our own relationship with Him is struggling? Even if we are Christians, we are still human and as such, fall prey to our own devices but despite this, we are called to stand out from the world we are in; being called to renew our minds.

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV) says, “1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

We are called to continue to renew our minds in Christ but how can we do this if our minds are constantly active; thinking about what to do next and what other projects or assignments we need to get done? Well, we rest. We take the time to calm our mind and focus on God.

“It’s when we begin to stop and focus on God and who He is in our lives that we can begin to build our relationship with Him.”

In a recent devotional I read entitled “Seeing With the Eyes of Jesus” I learned so much about just taking the time to interact with the people around us; just like Jesus did when He was on Earth. However, because we are humans, we are always on the move and as such, we don’t always see the needs of the people around us, but Jesus did. He took the time to get to know the hurting, sick and those that were deemed unworthy by the society of His day. Are we doing the same?

“The hustle and bustle of our daily lives can cause us to become so focused on our own needs, agendas, and to-do lists that we don’t have the capacity to see or step into the needs of others.”

I recently read a blog post by Lynn Abbotts of Through Ink and Image entitled Revue: In Stillness and it is amazing; particularly in regard to how it relates to us as Christians in our relationship with God. In the blog post, Lynn Abbotts states that “I don’t believe “being still” has ever been easy for the humanity. We know exactly what needs to be done, what needs to be said, or what needs require filling. And we restlessly plunge ahead without giving our direction much forethought.

However, this wasn’t the only quote that really touched me as a Christian and I feel that there are others that can encourage us as Christians.

  • “He [Saul] turned the wrong way on a one way street. Destruction loomed. His compass needed realignment. And it took more watt-age than mere headlights to stop him.”
    • “During the three days that he waited in darkness, Saul probably did a lot of soul-searching. In the stillness, he listened for word from God.
  • “Paul initially placed his confidence in human wisdom but a genuine encounter with Christ showed him the futility of racing down the wrong avenue.”
  • God’s timing and path are frequently unexpected.”
    • “After all, God’s Word tells me again and again to wait on the Lord.”
  • “And so it is with you and me. When my pace slows, when I stop and listen, I hear my heavenly Father’s gentle whisper. His grace guides me.
  • “I would first consult Abba’s Word, His road map. Abba’s truth helps me recognize those one way streets.”
  • “… even when you and I have gone our own way, Paul’s life demonstrates that our God will gently and graciously redirect us.”
    • “In fact, grace calls me to be still and know that Abba is God. When I slow down in His presence, I willingly allow Him to handle whatever my day entails.

Lynn Abbotts said, “When I am hurried or impatient, I invariably take a wrong turn, and head in a disastrous direction.

Are we stopping and listening to God?

Psalms 37:7 (NKJV) says, “7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of Him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”

This also reminds me of a song by Johnny Diaz called Breathe. In this song, I feel it speaks a lot on us as Christians being patient and how because we are so busy in our everyday lives; we never stop to take a breathe and rest at Christ’s feet. What is truly interesting about this song is the fact that I regularly listen to this song when I feel that I am so busy that I never took the time to listen or read God’s Word.

Building a relationship with God requires us to sometimes stop and take a moment to breathe. Like may keep going but our relationship with God can determine where we live eternally.”

It also reminds me of a blog post by Sue Love of Run With It entitled “Dependence on God”. In this blog post, Sue Love talks about what it means to be dependent on God when we are struggling in our lives and when we are weary. She stated that “So, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, we learn to take our burdens to the Lord and to lay them at his feet. And, we learn to rest in him and to not fret.”

Sue Love’s quote about laying our burdens at the feet of Jesus is something that I feel all Christians, new and those who grew up in the faith all have to come to grips with in our own lives and eventually our relationship with God.

Also, within the blog post, Sue Love has several quotes that I feel we as Christians can relate to when it comes to not just our relationship with God but also us as Christians resting in Him.

  • “Even if we feel fear, which we sometimes will, we give it over to the Lord, and we let him fill our hearts with his peace.”
  • “… we have to make this our regular practice to recognize when we are feeling fear, and then to immediately take our fears to the Lord in prayer and to hand them over to him, and to keep handing them over to him, and then to keep turning our hearts to him in prayer and in resting in him.”
    • “So, their [Satan and his fallen angels] lies may be very subtle and may be mixed in with the truth. So, what they say may sound like truth. It may sound good to our ears. So, we need to pray for much discernment so that we don’t get trapped by their lies.”
  • “… if we want to have discernment so that we do not fall into a web of deceit, and get tricked into believing lies, then we need to be grounded in the Word of God.”
    • “… We must not only know what the Word teaches us, but we must be ones who put the Word into practice.”
  • “Jesus has to be our Rock, our solid foundation. And, our trust has to be wholly in him, and our hearts yielded to him, if we are going to walk in victory over darkness and live in the light of truth.

Sue Love said, “We can’t be giving the devil a foothold in our lives because we are dabbling in things we know are wrong for us, and then wonder why we don’t have victory. We have to put off the old in order to put on the new. The old has to die for the new, in Christ, to be able to thrive.

As Christians, we have to continue to build our relationship with God with Him, but it has to start with us. We have to begin to rest aside that which we need God to get rid of and give it all to Him. This reminds me of a song by Shana Wilson entitled Press In Your Presence and this song is truly amazing; it focuses a lot on our relationship with God and how we are to press into Him and behold who He is.

Chorus

If I can just press, press in your presence

behold the beauty of your face

If I can just press, press in your presence

and never leave this place again

If I can just press, press in your presence

and leave all my cares behind me

I will behold, I’ll still believe, I will just lay, Lay at your feet

For I will behold I’ll still believe, I

will just praise, Praise at your feet

I will behold, I’ll still believe, I will

just lay, Lay at your feet

For I will behold, I’ll still believe, I

will just praise, Praise at your feet

Right Here In Your Presence

In the end, though, how we learn to build our relationship with God depends on us as Christians. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) says, “5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” We are called to trust in God with all of our hearts and as such, we need to let Him direct our paths; but how can we do this if we are still human beings?

So, what will we do as Christians?

Are we continuing to rest in God?

How are we developing our relationship with God?

 

God’s Blessings,

Joshua Reid

 

References

Abbotts, Lynn. “Revue: In Stillness,” April 3, 2019, throughinkandimage.com, https://throughinkandimage.com/2019/04/03/revue-in-stillness/ . Accessed 17, May 2019.

Johnny Diaz. “Breathe”, YouTube, uploaded by Johnny Diaz, 4 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnjeMwxFuBA . Accessed 23 May 2019.

Love, Sue. “Dependence on God,” March 27, 2018, runwithit.blog, https://runwithit.blog/2018/03/27/dependence-on-god/ . Accessed 20 May 2019.

Shana Wilson. “Press in Your Presence”, YouTube, uploaded by detroitdrummerboy, 10 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_68EM_Faros . Accessed 23 May 2019.

 

Picture References

Ann, Deborah. “God’s Timing Not Mine” 24 Nov 2018, poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com, https://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/2018/11/24/gods-timing-not-mine/ . Accessed 23 May 2018.

Author Unknown. “Psalms 46:10 NKJVhttps://biblia.com/bible/nkjv/Ps%2046.10 . Accessed 16 May 2019.

Author Unknown. “Romans 12:1-2 NKJVhttps://cellcode.us/quotes/romans-12-1-2-nkjv.html . Accessed 18 May 2019.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Faithfulness and Obedience to the Lord!

What does it mean to be faithful and obedient to the Lord?

This question came to me while I was doing a study on the Book of Joshua this month and throughout the study; I’ve noticed these two themes stick out to me while reading Joshua: Faithfulness and Obedience.

In reading Joshua, I saw how God continually showed His faithfulness to His rebellious people; the Israelites and how He continued to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham. For me, this idea of God’s faithfulness started making me think about God’s faithfulness towards us as Christians today and asking the question: Are we remaining faithful and obedient to the Lord?

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines faithfulness as: A steadfast adherent or supporter of a faith or cause.

In Joshua 1:3, God is speaking to Joshua about the Promised Land and how He will fulfill the promise that He made to Abraham to the people of Israel. God speaks on how He will guide them through the land; even when it seems like it is impossible.

Joshua 1:3

“Every place that the sole of your feet will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.”

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Holy Spirit, Teach Us!

This blog post was inspired by a comment from my previous post by Efua of Grace Over Pain. She said,

“Sometimes we read the Bible with a preconceived knowledge. Like we already know what the passage is about before we even read it. We become too familiar with scripture and over familiarity clogs our heart from understanding what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us.

In this blog post, I will be discussing how the Holy Spirit teaches us and guides us through Scripture and how we can then apply it to our everyday lives. As we walk through this blog post, I want us as Christians to reflect on how the Holy Spirit has been teaching us.

As we go through this week; I would like us to ask ourselves this question: Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us God’s Word? Are we letting God’s Spirit convict us? This leads me to read Proverbs 18:15 where the author speaks of the heart and how the discerning acquires knowledge and how the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

Proverbs 18:15

15. The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”

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The Importance of Reading the Bible (Part 2)

In this blog post, we will be discussing two more aspects of why as Christians, it is important that we read the Bible, particularly how reading the Bible can help us discern Satan’s tactics against us and how reading the Bible allows us as Christians to come together as a church and a community of believers.

In last week’s post on The Importance of Reading the Bible; we talked about how we as Christians should read the Bible to understand and study God’s Word and how we can then apply that to our everyday lives. In 1 Peter 5:8, the Apostle Peter is calling for us as Christians to be vigilant and aware of the Devil and his desire to see our destruction.

1 Peter 5:8

8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

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The Importance of Reading the Bible (Part 1)

Why is it important for us as Christians to read the Bible?

Well, throughout the Bible, there are many reasons that I could give that tell us why it is important to read the Bible; but, here’s the question that I would like to ask you as you read this post: Why are you reading the Bible? Are you reading the Bible for understanding and guidance from the Holy Spirit?

In this blog post, I will be discussing several points that I feel, we as Christians should remember when we read the Bible.

In Matthew 13:10-11, the disciples ask Jesus why He speaks to the people in parables but it’s Jesus’s response to the question that should give us as Christians a better understanding of the importance of reading the Bible.

In Matthew 13:15, Jesus said, “15. For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.

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Satan’s Traps – (Collaboration with Bible Blogger Girl) from Teen, Meet God!

According to the Bible, the strongest Christians are the ones Satan is hunting for most, and he certainly sets a lot of traps.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. -(1 Peter 5:8, KJV)

There are two main traps I’m going to discuss in this post: false doctrine and pride.

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The Purpose of Fasting (Part 2) – How to Pray During A Fast.

Welcome back. So, in last week’s blog post What Is Fasting? you and I learned what fasting wasn’t about our self-indulgence or our agenda but rending our hearts to the Lord and getting closer to Him. Well today, we will be talking about the other aspect of fasting; prayer. Prayer is just as important as fasting because prayer is a spiritual link that connects us to God and allows us to ask God for guidance in times of hardship and situations that seem out of our control. Together with fasting, prayer is an essential part of a Christian’s relationship with God.

What is does it mean to Pray?

Well, the words to pray or prayer either come from the Greek word proseuchomai which means “to pray to God” or “make prayer” or from the Hebrew word palal which means “to intercede” or “make supplication”. So, if both words mean to intercede and pray to God; then why do we as Christians pray half-hearted prayers and not sincere prayers to the Lord?

I think it has something to do with the type of prayer-life that we have while we are fasting. If our prayer-life is out of sync and not aligned with God’s Word; we will continue to pray for things that are contrary to God’s plan for our lives. The Old Testament prophet Ezra talks about prayer as a means of humility and praying that God leads the Israelites in the right direction but I feel it applies to us today. In Ezra 8:21, Ezra is taking the people of Israel to a river to pray and ask God for direction.

Ezra 8:21

21. Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.”Read More »

The Purpose of Fasting (Part 1) – What Is Fasting?

Well, it’s 2018. During the month of January, I will be doing a 3-part miniseries on the Purpose of Fasting where you and I will be exploring the Purpose of Fasting and why God has called us to fast. Fasting should be a crucial time for us as Christians to repent, draw closer to God and even learn more about God and His plan for us. So, for most churches, as we go into the fasting season I hope that you join me as we discuss why it’s important for us as Christians to fast.

What does it mean to Fast?

Well, the word fast or fasting either comes from the Greek word Nesteia which means “abstinence” or referring to “the Day of Atonement” or the Hebrew word tsum which means “to abstain from food”. So, if both words speak of fasting as the abstinence or removal of food, why then do we as Christians fast the way we want to fast and not the way God wants? It’s all because of our hearts.

The prophet Joel tells us exactly what God wants us to do regarding fasting and how we should not only fast in the physical but in the spiritual sense as well. In Joel 2:12-13, Joel is trying to not only telling us but teaching us how to fast as God would have us fast.

Joel 2:12-13

12. ‘Now therefore’ says the Lord, Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. 13. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.”Read More »

“Unto Us a Child Is Born”

Today, I will be doing a Christmas-themed blog post that I pray will give you a better understanding of the meaning of Christmas and what it means to us as Christians and people. While reading this blog post, I want you to ask yourself this question that I feel we all as people and Christians should ask: Am I really understanding the importance of Christ’s Birth? I feel that knowing the importance of Christ’s birth is crucial in order for us, as people and as Christians to begin to understand the importance of having a relationship with God.

Well, what is the importance of Christ’s Birth?

I think that the importance of Christ’s birth begins long before He puts on human clothes and comes to Earth. Throughout the Old Testament, various prophets including Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah foretold of Jesus’s birth and what to look for when He came as the Messianic King. In Matthew 1:22-23, the angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph and told him Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus Christ was all part of the Old Testament prophecy about His coming birth.

Matthew 1:22-23

22. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying: 23. Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call Him name Immanuel which is translated, “God with Us”.

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