Christianity 201

October 2, 2019

Burying Your Gifts = Living for Self

Six months ago we introduced you to the writing of Benjamin Moore. Click the title header below to read at source, and then take a few minutes to check out the rest of his site, including articles written in Spanish.

Purpose hidden life

Matthew 25:21
‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

It’s not about you

Rick Warren wrote a book titled Purpose Driven Life.

Which probably holds a record for one of the most sold books. The book begins with the statement it’s not about you.

My guess is that is not what many people expect to read.

You’re saying that my purpose is not about me?

We want the exact opposite.

Especially talking about purpose, we want to hear things like it’s all about me and my happiness, happiness is found within me, or I hold the keys to my destiny.

We want to live like the world revolves around us. And how we live and act prove it.

  • We get angry when traffic is not going fast enough.
  • Unkind thoughts pop through our heads when the waiter is taking to long.
  • If we need to talk to someone they should stop whatever they’re doing and gives us their full attention.
  • Service providers have picked up on this and have given us on-demand information, entertainment, and food.
  • Almost everything has found a way to please our immediate gratification.

But if you want a true out of this world purpose it doesn’t begin with you.

It begins with God

That’s how you can live a purpose driven life—by living with an acknowledgment and conviction that it’s about God and not you.

We have a choice

There is a story in Matthew 25 about a man who is given an opportunity to invest a large sum of money. If he just does the minimum he can at least gain some interest.

Instead, he chooses to make it all about himself. Out of fear he hides the money.

Lost potential, lost earnings, lost opportunity.

I don’t want to be like the servant who went and hid the money. What a waste of opportunity.

But what if we’re doing the same and we’re just not aware?

Is it possible that many of us are burying Gods gifts instead of investing them?

Rather than taking what God has given us and maximizing it for His glory, we have made it about ourselves and what we want.

What we want requires money, planning, energy, and most importantly time. This means there might not be anything left for God. We end up so weighed down with the weight of debt and fear of losing it all that we can never get out from under it.

After all of this, we don’t have any energy or time left for what God wants. So we hide any gifts or talents God has given us behind excuses.

And life goes by.

I think this is the sad truth for too many people around the world.

It might look different for some people but the consequences look the same. All their God-given potential buried, hidden away. It never gets invested and it never gives a return.

It’s about Him

When you start from the understanding that it’s not about you but God, you make it about God and about others.

You don’t give in to fear because there is more at stake than just your desires.

And you don’t hide your gifts, skills, and talents because it’s not about you.

It’s about God and His purpose for your life.

And when you live like that you don’t live a purpose hidden life rather you live with a purpose on full display for the world to see.

 

August 5, 2019

Our Un-mined, Greater Capacities

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

When I was setting up devotional posts for while we would be away during the last two weeks in July, I never considered how much attention would be focused on the 50th anniversary of the manned landing on the moon.

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from Florida and would land on the moon just four days later. While the spacecraft had a very sophisticated computer navigation system, this was the 1960s after all and today, I’m told that I have more processing power and functionality in the small smartphone which fits in my pocket.

Similarly, on the day that I trusted Christ as my savior and promised to make him my Lord, I had only limited knowledge of scripture and awareness of the gifts God had given me, but today, as I endeavor to mature in Christ, hopefully I have much more potential spiritual power and ability to be his witness in the world.

Unfortunately, I will never understand everything that my phone is capable of doing. There are things wired into it (even though I realize there are no actual wires anymore) that are beyond my understanding.

Similarly, there are are things that God has wired me for, so to speak, that I can choose to apply or use, or allow those gifts to atrophy. Sometimes, only as I step out in faith will I know the resident potential that exists.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. -Ephesians 2:10 NLT

In a world before time, God “planned” us for “good things” and the resident potential within us is great.

but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. -Daniel 11:32b NASB

Other translations have

  • shall do exploits (KJV)
  • will stand strong and will act (CEB)
  • shall stand firm and take action (ESV)
  • will act valiantly (NET)
  • stand strong and prevail (TLV)
  • carry out great exploits (NKJV)

…he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him… -Ephesians 1:4 ESV

Esther 4.14The challenge of course is that few of us know exactly or entirely what God has wired into us. The story of Esther is a story of someone who finds herself suddenly placed into a position which is really the turning point for the entire nation of Israel. Should she step up and take action or act valiantly? Mordecai says to her,

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
– Esther 4:14 NIV

So she takes action, but not the way I might have done it. I would have walked into the king’s chamber and said, “We need to talk.” But instead she proposes a banquet and then another. Her nation is in peril of extinction and she throws a party! Her internal wiring and predisposition is such that she is able to devise a plan and make a difference.

We will never know what we’re wired for and what potential we have until we put ourselves out there and take action.

It’s also good to remember that we are image bearers of a creator God whose attributes we only scratch the surface of understanding.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:9 NLT

But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” -1 Corinthians 2:9 ISV

I don’t believe that we should start claiming a false promise that we can do what only God can do, nor should we buy into the idea of unlimited human potential, but we need to take the encouragement that we were created by a God of infinite capacity.

Are there things in your internal wiring that you haven’t discovered or haven’t used? A gift God has given you which you haven’t tapped into?

August 29, 2016

We’re Wired for More

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from Florida and would land on the moon just four days later. While the spacecraft had a very sophisticated computer navigation system, this was the 1960s after all and today, I’m told that I have more processing power and functionality in the small smartphone which fits in my pocket.

Similarly, on the day that I trusted Christ as my savior and promised to make him my Lord, I had only limited knowledge of scripture and awareness of the gifts God had given me, but today, as I endeavor to mature in Christ, hopefully I have much more potential spiritual power and ability to be his witness in the world.

Unfortunately, I will never understand everything that my phone is capable of doing. There are things wired into it (even though I realize there are no actual wires anymore) that are beyond my understanding.

Similarly, there are are things that God has wired me for, so to speak, that I can choose to apply or use, or allow those gifts to atrophy. Sometimes, only as I step out in faith will I know the resident potential that exists.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  -Ephesians 2:10 NLT

In a world before time, God “planned” us for “good things” and the resident potential within us is great.

but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. -Daniel 11:32b NASB

Other translations have

  • shall do exploits (KJV)
  • will stand strong and will act (CEB)
  • shall stand firm and take action  (ESV)
  • will act valiantly (NET)
  • stand strong and prevail (TLV)
  • carry out great exploits (NKJV)

…he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him… -Ephesians 1:4 ESV

Esther 4.14The challenge of course is that few of us know exactly or entirely what God has wired into us. The story of Esther is a story of someone who finds herself suddenly placed into a position which is really the turning point for the entire nation of Israel. Should she step up and take action or act valiantly? Mordecai says to her,

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
– Esther 4:14 NIV

So she takes action, but not the way I might have done it. I would have walked into the king’s chamber and said, “We need to talk.” But instead she proposes a banquet and then another. Her nation is in peril of extinction and she throws a party! Her internal wiring and predisposition is such that she is able to devise a plan and make a difference.

We will never know what we’re wired for and what potential we have until we put ourselves out there and take action.

It’s also good to remember that we are image bearers of a creator God whose attributes we only scratch the surface of understanding.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:9 NLT

But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” -1 Corinthians 2:9 ISV

I don’t believe that we should start claiming a false promise that we can do what only God can do, nor should we buy into the idea of unlimited human potential, but we need to take the encouragement that we were created by a God of infinite capacity.

Are there things in your internal wiring that you haven’t discovered or haven’t used? A gift God has given you which you haven’t tapped into?