Time for part two in our series, but first I want to point out an important word in the title that I hope you caught. That word is “Christian”. That’s right these lies are aimed at Christians (I’m talking to women directly today, but men are affected as well). If you are not a true Christian this is not for you and honestly, you probably don’t often struggle with many (or any) of these lies I will be discussing. You are not a threat to the Enemy, actually the Enemy likes you right where you are (that is right next to him). There is no need for him to convince you that you don’t belong in a church or that you have no gifts to share because your heart is not inclined that way.
This message is to encourage my sisters who are in Christ that they have been given gifts to use and that they can discover what those gifts are. So, that being said, if you have struggled with this lie – rejoice! Seriously rejoice - you have been found a threat to the opposition and he is not liking you one bit. This lie has been thrown at you like a hand grenade to blow up in your face and send you crying back to your room to hide. Sisters, let’s begin some serious counter attacks, beating that devil back to where he belongs. We need to refuse to put up with these ridiculous cheap shots. So, fasten your truth belts and pick up your sword.
LIE #2: I don’t have any spiritual gifts. Hmm… interesting. I used to tease my little brother that he must have been gone the day God was handing out brains because it was obvious he got skipped (I think I repented of that long ago). So somehow God must have skipped you when he was handing out spiritual gifts. Whoops! What an oversight! Some of those Quality Check Angels (QCAs) were not paying attention there. Wow, send them back to training. Not an area we want remedial angels to be working in, they may fit in better where they check if you can walk and chew gum at the same time.
“Now concerning spiritual gifts brothers [and sisters], I do not want you to be uninformed.” Okay, not my words, but Paul’s, but I mean them too (they are from 1 Cor. 12:1, you really need to read that whole awesome chapter). Don’t be uninformed, ladies, read your owner’s manual, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:” 1 Peter 4:10. No one has been overlooked; each of us has been given gifts to be used for the betterment of the body. Let me repeat that in case you weren’t listening… NO ONE has been overlooked - every. single. Christian. has received a gift!
There are specific gifts listed in at least two places in the Bible. Here are some gifts listed in 2 Corinthians chapter 12: the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith, healing, working miracles, prophecy, and the ability to distinguish between spirits, also teaching, helping and administrating. Some from Romans chapter 12: faith, service, teaching, exhortation, generosity, leading, and giving mercy.
“All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Cor. 12:11. Each of us is given a gift in the portion best for us, decided by God and this is done individually (love this word used in relation to God). Sounds like no QCAs are needed after all! We don’t have a careless God that misses people when they are going through the creation assembly line. As if new humans are being produced faster than he can keep up (yes, mental picture of Lucille Ball in the chocolate factory assembly line here). We have a perfect God that hand creates each of us individually with love and purpose. Phew! That is good news… I think I might need to call my little brother.
Ladies, you have been given spiritual gifts! You just need to discover what those gifts are. This is not a daunting task, be excited that there are awesome things to discover about yourself that you simply haven’t uncovered yet! Hidden gems that God has placed within you to be revealed at the proper time in order to shine brilliantly for him. Oh, I hope this is sinking in, because this is good stuff!
Here are some tips to discovering your giftings: read 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and Romans chapter 12 to review lists of spiritual gifts, pray that God would reveal your gifts to you, ask others what they see in you (come talk to me, I would love to help you with this!) and practice potential gifts. Begin by practicing some of the more “common” ones like service and giving mercy (especially before trying out the working miracles and prophecy ones, jumping into these may prove embarrassing at the next Sunday service). Allow God to work through you to bless others. You will soon learn more and more about your spiritual giftings. Often new gifts are revealed as you grow in Christ or at least new ways to use and improve your current ones.
So, ladies, you should now be armed with enough ammo to refute these explosives coming your way. Keep reading God’s word in order to stay armed and to guard your heart from deceit. One of my favorite tactics in this spiritual battle we engage in everyday is to use the weapons of the Enemy against him. So next time one of those lie-grenades comes flying at you, whack it with your shield of faith and send it right back where it belongs. You do this by holding fast to God’s truth in the Word and living it out. Use your gifts to build up the body and strengthen the brothers and sisters by your side. Batter up, Ladies.
“No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5. This was the verse a group of ladies and I were focusing on during our weekly Bible study in the park just a few weeks ago. An awesome verse everyone should commit to memory.
One of my final questions to these godly women that day was, “If you honestly exercised full trust in the Lord, what might your life look like? What radical things might God call you to?” There was silence, then some hesitant answers of sharing Christ with others, correcting blasphemies, and getting serious about teaching their children about God. I repeated myself, sure they didn’t understand what I was getting at, “Think big! If you had enough faith, what might you do that would require full dependence on God?” More silence and a few responses similar to the first ones.
We ended in prayer and went our separate ways. I found myself frustrated, why didn’t they get it? Why couldn’t they trust God in BIG ways, just grab onto a dream and imagine how God could work everything out? I wanted answers like, “I would quit my job and enter full time ministry,” or “I would open my home up to all those in need and begin a ministry of hospitality,” or “I would pack my family up and head to another country as missionaries!” Yes, me and my big dreams, but those weren’t the answers I heard that day.
It wasn’t long before God began convicting me of a wrong attitude. I could feel the Spirit nudging at me. I then came across a quote in a book I was reading from Oswald Chambers:
“The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do. ‘Jesus took a towel… and began to wash the disciples’ feet.’”
That was enough to bring tears to my eyes, God had my attention. I had assumed an attitude of thinking my “big works” would please God more than any small scale act I could do.
Yes, Jesus did many awesome signs and wonders while on earth and we love to read about them and point them out to others. We quickly forget all the seemingly little ways Jesus was fully obedient to his Father God. Along with washing the disciples’ feet (even Judas’) he: had compassion on the needy, spoke encouragement, told stories to demonstrate God’s goodness, taught and prayed for his friends, played with children, suffered, went to church (temple), endured insults, forgave his enemies, and ate with friends. All Jesus did was for the glory of God; he is our perfect example in the “large and small” of our lives.
I read on… “There are times when there is no illumination and no thrill, but just the daily round, the common task. Routine is God’s way of saving us between our times of inspiration. Do not expect God always to give you His thrilling minutes, but learn to live in the domain of drudgery by the power of God… The tiniest detail in which I obey has all the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I do my duty, not for duty’s sake, but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience the whole superb grace of God is mine through the Atonement!” Oswald Chambers
Even our small acts of obedience, done out of trust in our Lord, are filled with the full power of God’s grace. A heart set on living in servitude to him is what God desires; obedience is obedience.
Lord, forgive me for making the all too common error of thinking you are more pleased with the world-changing evangelist than the community changing, obedient woman who shares Christ with others, will not tolerate your name used in vain, and is intent on training up her children in your word! These daily, routine acts of obedience train our hearts to trust him more and cause us to live out his written word.
It reminds of the interaction between the Lord and Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13, “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him…”
I want to be wherever God is leading me, whether that is in the earthquakes of the big callings in life or the low whispers of the small. I enCOURAGE you to trust in the Lord with all of your heart for every size task he puts before you.
Spring has arrived! I can see the evidence all over my front yard. No, not green grass, robins or tulips, I’m talking about the scooters, bikes, footballs, and baseball gloves. That is a sure sign around here that the weather is improving (despite the recent snow).
Spring is always an exciting time of year. It’s as if God allowed much of his creation to rest for the season of winter and now slowly coaxes it all back to life right before our eyes. It is a time full of happy anticipation as we watch the earth awaken to colorful beauty once again.
As a mother, we live our lives in anticipation. We eagerly wait nine months for the arrival of a baby, and when they are finally placed in our arms we are responsible for anticipating all of their needs. As they grow we continue to prepare and plan ahead for what they will need to be nourished and well cared for. We anticipate their excitement at birthdays and holidays and we anticipate their need for comfort and love when they are hurt or disappointed. You could say it is a part of our job description.
It is also in the job description of being a follower of Christ. We are called to live lives of anticipation. It may be better phrased that we are allowed to live lives of anticipation. Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse for many people for good reason; it gives us great hope. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
When we have surrendered our lives to Christ and understand that God has full authority and control over everything that happens to us (full sovereignty), we have great freedom. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Catch that? If you love God, ALL things work together for GOOD.
Once again: God is in control, God has your best interests in mind, he intends everything for your good, and it is all done ultimately for his purpose, his glory.
What will God do in your life? I don’t have that answer, but God does. He wrote your story long ago and it ends very well (if your heart belongs to him). You get to live in anticipation of what is in store for your future. This doesn’t mean that life will be roses, God’s Word does not promise that. Only that what happens is for your benefit and will magnify God in your life. As it says in Psalms 112, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”
We also get to anticipate meeting our Savior face to face one day. Whether this life ends and we join him in paradise or he returns to us before then. We get to live in great excitement of this glorious event occurring in our futures! What an amazing thing to look forward to. Everything we do, say, read and think should be in preparation for that exact moment.
“It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’” – Isaiah 25:9
I have a smile on my face just typing about seeing Jesus someday! How about you? Are you excitedly anticipating the return of your Savior? If so, continue to rejoice, for that day is on the horizon. Be ready (see Luke 12:35-40)! If this is not something you feel excitement for, time for a serious heart check. Do not delay another second; seek Jesus now. Allow him to bring spring to your heart, regenerating life where before there was death. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26
I enCOURAGE you to let the signs of springtime remind you to live in excited anticipation of what God desires to unfold in your heart and life and ultimately of Jesus’ glorious return to gather his beloved to himself!