Tag Archives: serving others

What’s Required of Me?

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“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.”

Luke 12:48b (ESV)

I’ve often heard that whisper from God.

While worshipping and praising God at a concert recently, my heart was focused on Him. Once again that whisper came, “To whom much is given, much is required.”

“What’s required Lord?” I asked. “What does this mean?”

He spoke to my heart, “What have you been given?”

Lord, You’ve given me grace beyond measure, forgiveness for my sins, knowledge of your truth, and your everlasting love. You’ve given me physical well-being, health and always meet my daily needs. You’ve given me opportunities to learn and grow, people who love me, and freedom to worship you. I’ve received love, joy, peace, forgiveness, grace, and truth and I’ve learned to trust you.

If you’ve been given grace, give equal grace to others.

If you’ve received forgiveness, forgive others more.

If you’ve been encouraged, be quick to encourage.

If your physical needs are met, meet the needs of those around you.

If you know the truth, share the truth.

If you are loved, then love freely.

If you are strong, help those who are weak.

I believe what’s required of me is to let all these blessings flow through me to others. To those around me who need grace, forgiveness, encouragement, a meal or daily needs.

This isn’t something I can do on Sunday morning or Tuesday evening and then I’ve met my requirement. This is a way of living.

This is an attitude, an outlook, a way of being.

It’s a change of focus.

A change from focusing on me to focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is abiding in His love.

I wish I could say I’m living this way everyday. I hesitate to even write this because I’m so far from living this every day. I want to live focusing on Jesus and serving Him but I can’t do it in my strength. Awareness is the beginning. Change comes one day at a time. One step at a time. It requires abiding in Jesus. Living continually in His presence. I feel like I fail at this kind of loving. I know God loves me unconditionally and always will. I want to finish this life strong. I don’t want to have regrets. Please pray for me that I, who have been given so much, will respond in kind.

Help me take the next step Lord.

“We must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35b (ESV)

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Psalm 105:4 (ESV)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 (ESV)

 Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

 

 

 

 

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Do no harm.

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June 3, 2016 · 10:03 pm

When My Ugly is Showing

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My selfish attitude slapped me in the face.

I was in a situation where I realized my attitude was ugly, stingy and self-focused. And this was concerning my eighty-six year old mother! Wow, way to go self.

As I thought back over the choices I’d made throughout the day I realized how self-focused I’d been. I felt helpless in the face of my own weak nature. My inability to be a good person. I’m not a good person by nature. When I operate in my own strength, I always default to selfishness.

It’s only as I yield to Jesus and trust Him by faith to work through me that I can live and love as He wants me to. Words aren’t enough to express what His grace means. Amazing, astounding, glorious. How can words express thanks for such a gift?

I had missed my prayer and Bible reading for 5 or 6 days before this instance and had been operating in my own strength. I was “doing” the right things but harboring a selfish attitude.

Then I remembered: run to Jesus!

He was right there loving me. He died so that I could come to Him aware of my own failure and sin. I cried out to Him and confessed my sin. I confessed my weakness and remembered how He loves me. How He has always been there to love and forgive, Running to Jesus is always the answer.

When sin grips my heart, I run to Jesus.

When problems rise like mountains, I run to Jesus.

When that voice in my head says I’m a failure, I run to Jesus.

When I realize I’m weak, incapable of loving my neighbor as myself, I run to Jesus.

When regret threatens to crush me, I run to Jesus.

When I do it right, I run to Jesus.

The LIE is that I’m not worthy and I should just give up.

The TRUTH is Jesus says, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 So when I am weak, He is strong.

My flesh rebels at the idea that I have to have connection to Him everyday. That I need time in prayer and scripture every day. That I have no strength apart from Him. But it’s true, I don’t. When I am walking with Jesus and He’s working through me, loving through me, I can make the mistake of thinking “I” am good. “I” am doing something. I can’t take credit for anything. I breath because He lives. If I’m able to love sacrificially, it’s because He first loved me.

It’s all grace.

Praise His holy name!

Thank you Jesus that you can take all my weakness, all my mess, all my brokenness and use it to your glory. Thank you that nothing is wasted. Thank you that every good thing in my life is a gift from you. I thank you that you use even the hard things to draw my heart to you. I love you Lord!

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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Someday

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Someday I will paint a picture

with warm and vibrant colors.

Someday I will write beautiful words

that will dance in a person’s soul.

Someday I will write letters

to those I love and

tell them what they mean to me.

Someday I will learn how to play beautiful music

that comes from the depths of my heart.

Someday I will tell people

what God has done for me.

Someday I will teach my child

all the lessons that are in my heart.

Someday I will let my light shine

as God wants me to.

Someday…….

When is someday?

When will that be?

How long have I waited for that day to come?

If someday does not become today,

it will not ever come.

Today I will….

What will you do today?

 

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Opportunity is Knocking

 

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“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16

Paul challenges us here to be careful [take heed, look, beware, see, walk circumspectly] and to be wise. Not plowing ahead blindly without looking where we’re going or even taking thought of where we want to go. We need to seek wisdom and not be foolish. The wise person looks around them and is aware of what’s going on. We need to open our eyes and make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil! Not wearing blinders, not putting our heads in the sand. We need to see the evil in the world, see the opportunities God gives us and make the most of them by using them to do good, to share truth and to shine the light.

It’s easy to walk with blinders on and pretend that what I see right in front of me is all that’s real. But the truth is the world is full of evil and corruption and it’s dying. The world is groaning, longing to be free of its curse. I need to walk with my eyes open and be aware of what is true and SEE the opportunities God brings.

I missed an opportunity this week. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that the same woman came into my path two days in a row but I put my blinders on. I didn’t listen to God and respond. I can’t know what would’ve happened if I’d made the most of that opportunity but I can learn and be ready the next time.

Dear Lord, I want to walk wisely; I want to make the most of the opportunities you give me. I know how evil this world is. Open my eyes Jesus. Please help me make the most of the opportunities you give me.

What opportunities will God bring to us today? Are we ready?

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Losing is Winning

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“Why can’t I be more like her?”

“There is no way I can do what she does!”

“I will never be as loving and kind as my friend” I whined in my heart feeling yucky in comparison.

The problem is…comparison. And probably more than a little jealousy of the gifts I see in others.

Then I remember…

All good things come from God!

His love flows through each heart. His gifts shine in each soul. We don’t create our gifts. Our talents and abilities don’t originate with us. Yes, we nurture and practice them. We choose to grow them or hide them but we did not create the seed. All of our gifts come from God. We are the caretakers. He is Master. We are managers.

What can we take credit for? Nothing.

What do we answer for? How well we invested what He gave us.

Did we hide our gifts or use them? Multiply them or let them grow stagnant?

Any boasting belongs to Him. All glory goes to Him.

See Him in the gifts of others not competition. See His hand. See His glory. Jealousy is about questioning God. Questioning how He chooses to show His glory. We are all on the same team, running the same direction.

Winning is helping others.

Winning is God being glorified.

Self-exaltation is a loss, a defeat. Leaving others behind, shutting them out, resenting their gifts, not loving others or putting self first is putting ourselves in opposition to God.

“…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” 1 Peter 5:5b (NIV)

All gifts are given for one purpose—to serve others.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

So that, “…In all things God be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11b (NIV)

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

We need to lose…so we can win.

Do you struggle with comparison as I do? Please share your thoughts.

Remember it is all Jesus. It is all grace.

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Originally published for Takin It to the Streets – A ministry to the poor and homeless serving the Omaha, Nebraska area

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Need a Great Book to Cozy Up To This Winter?

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When Dawn Breaks by Jennifer Slattery

    Jennifer Slattery’s second novel is a moving, powerful story. We meet 51-year-old Jacqueline Dunn when her flight to escape a hurricane takes her directly into the path of 3 needy children who eventually change her life. She also encounters a lonely railroader who is facing a crisis in his new job. Jennifer weaves these stories together seamlessly. I found myself laughing out loud one minute and one chapter later feeling heartbreak. I was drawn into the lives of these characters and found myself caring about each one. Seeing life through the eyes of 14-year-old Gavin broke my heart and made me wonder how many children face the same things in real life.  This book is very well-written. It includes a romance but the greater love story in the book  might surprise you. Jennifer writes about faith in such a real way showing how her characters struggle with past sins and face challenges to their faith yet find strength in prayer and scripture. There are no super Christians but real people with real faith. If you want to be drawn into a moving story, find yourself rooting for characters you feel you know, enjoy a romance, and possibly be inspired to take action, then you need to read this book. The book is written with humor, realism and from a place of true emotion. There are storylines that include finding romance after fifty, the foster care system, abandoned children, disaster relief, unethical work practices, broken relationship between parent and child, and being willing to step out of one’s comfort zone in order to serve God. Will Jacqueline’s daughter ever trust her again? Will Gavin and his sisters ever have a real home? Will Jonathan lose his job? Will he love again? I highly recommend this novel.

http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/tag/when-dawn-breaks/

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