Tuesday, November 26, 2013

No Man's Land

Romans 12:6-8
The Voice
Since our gifts vary depending on the grace poured out on each of us, it is important that we exercise the gifts we have been given. If prophecy is your gift, then speak as a prophet according to your proportion of faith. If service is your gift, then serve well. If teaching is your gift, then teach well. If you have been given a voice of encouragement, then use it often. If giving is your gift, then be generous. If leading, then be eager to get started. If sharing God’s mercy, then be cheerful in sharing it.

I have spent a lot of time worrying about not being able to live up to my own expectations.  Recently, I have been dealing with some disappointment and a feeling of being in "no man's land" and unable to be all I think I should be, so I decided to turn to the Word to find some encouragement.

I came across this passage and, of course as usual, the Word spoke to me and is helping me to regain my focus.  I may not live up to my own expectations of myself...or anyone else's, however; according to these scriptures it definitely seems clear to me that the focus should be on what I do have to give and whether or not I am willing to utilize the gifts that God did give me. 

My suspicion is that most of us look around us and see the gifts that others have and somehow think that we should be able to do the same things, and if not, we are lacking in some way.  This would naturally distract one from their own gift!  And as a result, one's own gift would suffer from inaction.  Another negative result is that our families, circle of friends, and churches would become sterile and stagnant.  We need each of these gifts to be operating within us and around us to fully fulfill the plan God has for them in the first place! 

Maybe you and I do not completely know what our gifts are, maybe we don't need to know...maybe God created within us a natural instinctive desire to reach out in these individual ways.  I'm thinking that less worry about what we can't do and more reaching out in the way God leads us to is really all we need to be concerned with.  That "no man's land" feeling could just simply be God's prompting to use the gifts He gave you - and me!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Country and Christ

1 Peter 2:13-17
The Voice

13 For the Lord’s sake, accept the decrees and laws of all the various human institutions, whether they come from the highest human ruler 14 or agents he sends to punish those who do wrong and to reward those who do well. 15 You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. 16 Live as those who are free and not as those who use their freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as God’s servants. 17 Respect everyone. Love the community of believers. Reverence God. Honor your ruler.

I feel compelled to voice some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for a while now regarding our country, freedom...and being Christ-like. 

We boast of freedom and rights with pride, including me!  But with freedom and rights come responsibility.  This seems to be where everything sort of goes off track.  I notice that there is a general misconception regarding freedom...it really doesn't mean you can do whatever you want.  Okay, yes, you can do whatever you want...but there is a price - consequences.

I will try to explain this with a spiritual application, and let the reader sort out the earthly application for themselves.  As Christians, we rejoice in the freedom and liberty that is given when we are born again.  And rightly so.  However, this does not all of sudden open the door to a free for all type of attitude.  No, we submit to the Word, and with humility become a prisoner (Philemon 1:1) to Christ himself.

Which brings us to the Christ-like part of my thought.  I don't need to expound on what these scriptures mean.  I think that is pretty clear.  What seems to need expounding sometimes it the practical application of them.  As citizens of a free country, do we as Christians feel exempt from the scriptural admonition to respect and honor those with whom we do not agree?  Does our earthly freedom overrule our spiritual obligation?  I do not believe we are exempt, nor do I see that any earthly "right" trumps the inspired Word of God.