“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
Romans 12:6-8 NIV
Each person is unique is some way. Everyone has a different combination of strengths and abilities. No individuals were made to stand alone or to be isolated from the community. We are designed to work together to use our blessings to help fulfill the needs of others and for others to help fulfill our needs. The things that get in the way are sin…pride and selfishness, judgement and favoritism…these exist in everyone on all sides of every issue. Each of us should assess ourselves and understand what are our strengths and gifts to offer…the important thing to remember is the value of our gifts in God’s eyes not value according to the world’s perspective…because even if what we can offer will change life for just 1 or a few other people, we are still changing the world for good in the eyes of God. Peace be with you on your journey. Amen.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in is various forms.”
1 Peter 4:9-10 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2018 while driving near the South Dakota and Minnesota border)
The struggle is real…we strive and we press to finish and to see the result…only to find the race is not over…there is more that needs to be done. We were made for community to lift each other up and encourage one another. Each of us has been given different gifts to offer to others, we can’t be everything to everyone and if we try, we will be going off course with God’s plan. Learn what God has planned for you and the blessings and abilities He has given to you for this life. Seek to do your best according to God’s will and you will find peace. Amen.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)
We are blessed to be a blessing. Sharing with those in need is about more than a financial giving. It is sharing whatever God has provided in abudance. Some have an abundance of wisdom, some the ability to be a good listener, some have a solution oriented mindset and some an abundance of posititvity. These things and many others like them are blessings from God that can be shared with others. When reflecting on what you have the ability to share look at your life from a Godly perspective not from the world’s point of view. Be thankful for what God has given you and share as He has shared with you. Amen.
“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
(This photo was taken in May of 2014 on a lake in central Minnesota)
Now is naturally a time to reflect on the past year of things that happened in your life and in the world…it may be a time to be thankful for your blessings of the past and hopeful for the coming New Year. For some it will be a time to say “I’m glad that year is over, I hope the next one is better!” What I have learned when I am reflecting on the past or looking towards what lies ahead is my feelings or perspective say quite a bit about my attitude.
If I am ‘I’ focused and only thinking about what happened to ‘Me’ during the year it is easy to get discouraged. As an example, if someone only thinks about ‘I didn’t get that job I really thought would be great for me’ then sure they will not feel good about that…if they think about things that happened in the days and weeks after not getting that job maybe that would be memories of how a friend or family member said or did something great and unexpected to lift them up. Or while discussing the rejection with someone a new opportunity presented itself for a job. It is all about perspective. If we choose to focus our thoughts on what was wrong, bad or frustrating then we are sure to feel that negative energy in everything. If we make an effort to find what was right, good or hopeful about a situation then that renewing energy will go with us.
This is true for any situation…I grant you it is not always easy to do and I battle with it myself. However, we are not meant to do this alone. Every single person has been blessed with gifts and talents and when they choose to use those blessings the way God intended them to be used they will see and feel the good that surrounds their life. I recently read the following analogy…
Every individual is a flashlight…if we try to show our light but do not have batteries inside, if we are empty, then we will not work…if we have our batteries inside but they are not being used correctly we will not work, our light will not shine…only when we are filled with good stuff and we use it correctly will our light shine…we need the love from Jesus in our hearts and when we use that gift to make the world better for even one person then our light will shine as God intended it to.
I pray that we all choose to “Let Our Light Shine” today and all throughout the New Year!
Peace and Happy New Year!
Even when we feel like asking like a child “Are we there yet?” …we need to continue on the journey of faith. Just like going on a trip you will have highs and lows, sweet surprises and unfortunate disappointments. You will encounter unexpected events as well as amazing grace. The title of this blog explains my perspective of the journey. Remember to “Take Your Faith With You” wherever you go.
Think about when you are going to take a trip…do you plan and gather resources? Typically you pack a bag, at least one. Sometimes people make a checklist to be sure they have everything and sometimes people just grab a few things and head out. Do you bring a map or I guess now it would be a GPS capable device as a guide? When you are on the trip do you spend time regretting not taking a turn or trying to change something that didn’t go well on the trip? Or do you continue to press on…knowing that things will be ok, looking for ways to improve yourself and your decision making in order to have a better experience for yourself as well as others with you on the trip. Do you find that when you are lost or not sure where to go that the map/GPS is helpful in guiding you to a better situation?
For me every day is another day on the journey to discover more about and engage in faith with life. I start by consulting the guide book or spiritual GPS called the Bible. For any thoughts of worry or concern I offer them up to God in prayer, this helps me remember to keep a positive perspective on the events in my day…it reduces stress, frustration, etc…I also pray to help me see his work in the world and to bless every interaction with others in my day. Just stating such a prayer each morning helps me remember God throughout the day. When others share good news or bad news I praise God either for the blessings of the good news or for wisdom to see what he wants us to learn from the bad news.
Through it all, as a human, I stumble and sometimes I fall down completely…I still get mad, I still feel frustrated and I still feel sadness at times…I am not a robot. We all still have all of our emotions…the difference is how we choose to respond to those feelings and emotions and whether or not we share those feelings and emotions with God. After all, he created us…he knows us better than we could ever imagine. The hard part is learning to trust him more and more and including him in your daily walk for every situation good or bad.
The more I have engaged in this behavior the more I am amazed how he guides me to do more for others and how wonderful you feel when you really stop focusing on how everything affects me or makes me feel. The focus on self alone is the work of evil and will keep you from God…he created each of us for far more than we could know and the only path to discovering that is to walk with him to ask him questions, to speak with him. To take direction from the spiritual GPS…here is a good instruction to start with…
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be people of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
After that start reading everyday…the book of Proverbs is a great place to start in the Old Testament. I pray that each day we all can work on inviting and trusting God to guide us and be with us every step on our journey to the life everlasting. Amen