At one point or another, we’ve all likely wondered what our gifts and talents are. We’ve wondered how our wiring, our quirks and our abilities could make a difference in this world.
Or, maybe you have an idea of what a few of your giftings are but you’re feeling a bit “stuck” or frustrated, wondering why you’re not having opportunities to use those talents. Today I want to share with you the secret of what to do in either case...HELP! Specifically, plug in and help in your local church! You see, when you help...God will order your steps and you’ll start to see more and more clearly what your unique “lane” is.
You may feel like greeting, directing traffic, mopping floors, starting coffee pots, or whatever helping role you’re volunteering in, is insignificant...but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Let’s check out 1 Corinthians 12:28: “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues” (NKJV).
We see in that verse that there is a ministry of “helps” -- and as a quick aside, even if God has called you to another one of the ministry areas listed in that verse, almost every single time the path still begins with the ministry of helps. For many, the ministry of helps IS the calling.
>>Are you catching this? “Helps” is ministry! And it makes a world of difference in the lives of others!
Helping at your local church provides fertile ground for the Lord to cultivate your gift and to make a way for you to use it to help more and more people. Is helping glamorous? Not usually. Is helping always going to be in your preferred area of interest? Not always, especially as you start out. But will God honor your willing heart and helping hands, and in due season use your serving to reveal to you specific gifts and talents He has put inside you? YES!
Here’s a promise to stand on...read with me in Proverbs 18:16: “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men” (NKJV). As you continue to faithfully serve, your gift will become more clear and visible, both to you and to others. For example, you may feel like you have a teaching gift but wonder why you’ve been asked to serve in Kids’ Ministry. I encourage you today, do so with excellence and a willing heart! Serve those kids to the best of your ability. Use your teaching gift to teach and train them. Nurture and hone that skill, be faithful to what God’s asking you to do in that season, and at the right time He will make a way for you to use those gifts in new ways.
You don’t have to strive, fret or worry...trust the Lord to do what only He can do which is to reveal your special gifts and talents as you serve faithfully and whole-heartedly in your local church. Everything you invest into growing His church is time well-spent...it’s an ETERNAL investment by helping others...and He will make sure your gifts make a way for you!
Say This: “Father, thank You that You’ve given me gifts and talents. I choose to help serve in my local church and trust that as I serve faithfully, You’ll make my gifts and talents more visible to me and to others. Thank You that I can participate in the ministry of ‘helps’ and make an eternal impact in the lives of others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
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At one point or another, we’ve all likely wondered what our gifts and talents are. We’ve wondered how our wiring, our quirks and our abilities could make a difference in this world.
Losing your life. Yes, quite possibly the world’s most unpopular answer -- but it’s true! At the very foundation of building a life of purpose, one that leaves an eternal legacy, is choosing to make your life all about Christ, and not about yourself.
Depending on your upbringing or what you may or may not have heard over the years about the Lord...that may be a scary thought. “You’re asking me to lose my life, for Him?” Yes. Not literally, but yes -- in terms of shifting your heart’s attention from things in this world that are temporary and onto things that have lasting impact.
In a culture where many choose to just “do their thing” and do whatever they want to do, this notion of choosing to invest your life into the cause of Christ does not get talked about enough! But friends, the truth is -- living for Him is the only true freedom! When you let Him take the lead in your life, you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. You don’t have to make things happen, you don’t have to know all the answers...rather, you just rest in Him and follow the Holy Spirit’s lead...and He’ll guide you on His perfect path for you. Doesn’t the thought of that just make you want to take a deep breath? It’s so freeing!
When we willingly ask Jesus to be the Lord of our life, we’re asking Him to “take the wheel” as the song goes...but something really significant happens inside of us. We see this in Galatians 2:20, which says: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (NKJV). If you’ve been crucified with Christ, it means the old you is gone -- your spirit has been reborn, and it is Christ who lives in you and equips you for your purpose-filled life!
It’s not scary to let the Lord take the lead when you understand His character -- I encourage each of you to marinate your heart in scriptures about who He is and what He’s like -- the more you get to know Him, the easier it is to give Him all of you and just follow His lead! He loves you, never leaves you, protects you, heals you, forgives you, cherishes you, and He made you -- He knows the very number of hairs on your head.
>>There is no one who loves you more fully, completely and unconditionally than the Lord -- and you can trust Him to lead your life!
When we choose to live for Christ and build a life of purpose, there will be a process we go through...not just once, but probably several times in different seasons of life as we continue to mature in our faith. It’s called the “law of death and resurrection” and simply put, it means that we need to die to our own way of making things happen and let Him fulfill the dreams in our heart His way -- which is always the BEST way!
A great illustration of this principle is found in John 12:24:26, let’s check it out: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (NKJV).
I pray that today each of us is even more stirred up to lay down our own life for Christ and follow His lead...His plans lead us in our life of true purpose. In whatever circle of influence you’re in, whatever career, family, city...if you’ll choose to make your life about Him...He’ll not only bless your life but help you impact all those around you for Christ. YOU can have an eternal impact...now that’s something worth investing your life in!
Say This: “Father, I ask You to take my life and consecrate it to You. I choose to submit my way of making things happens, my plans and my striving. Rather, I choose to live for Christ! I ask You to please help me to follow Your lead every day of my life and build a life rich in purpose that impacts those in my world for You. I trust You and know that You’re blessing me beyond measure and helping me to make an eternal difference in the lives of many! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Have you ever watched the finish line of a marathon? The front pack of runners who actually “medal” in those races seem to bound across the finish line, looking as if they’ve just started the race and are about to circle around for lap two of that “easy” 26.2 mile journey. But, as you keep watching that finish line, eventually the packs of everyday runners start to trickle across...some with a smile and pep in their step...but others looking like they’d fall right over if the wind blew just a touch harder.
I’m personally not into running, so please know I’m issuing no judgement here on any finisher -- kudos to all you marathon runners, you’re amazing! But I do like the analogy that we can draw from what we see at the finish line.
You see, each of us is truly running a marathon...our lives are described as a “race” in the Bible. My question to you today is how do you want to cross the finish line?
There are some who don’t hold fast to their faith and walk off the course mid-way. That makes my heart so sad! Don’t let that be you! Cling tightly to God’s promises, whether you’re running on smooth pavement or trying to inch your way up heartbreak hill. We’re cheering you on here at The Basics With Beth -- you can do this!!
Others reach the finish line, but just barely! With skinned knees, exhaustion, a frown and maybe even tears...they get it done, but certainly not with any amount of joy.
What I pray is the case for all of you is this -- to finish your race with JOY! Acts 20:24 says, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” It’s God’s desire for you to finish your race...and to do so with JOY!
>>What’s the secret to doing so? Here it is…
The whole time you’re running your race, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus! He is both the author and finisher, the alpha and omega. He will help you get started in your race, and He will supernaturally equip you to run your race strong and finish with joy. He has everything you need in every mile of your marathon...look to Him today and every day, and I’ll see ya at the finish line, friends!
Say This: “Father, thank You that You’ve created me for a purpose. Thank You that in Jesus, I have more than enough equipping to run every mile of my race. Lord, I want to finish my race, and to finish it with joy! I choose to keep my eyes fixed on You, and trust that You’re with me every step of the way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
When we talk about God’s plans...it makes me think of a puzzle box top. The box is full of puzzle pieces, but the box top shows the finished image. It’s the goal, the “bigger picture,” the purpose of all the intertwined, individual pieces that need to connect together to form that finished work. God sees that full view, and He’s intentionally weaving all of us into the amazing masterpiece throughout the ages.
So in this analogy, that means each of those puzzle pieces is a person. God is divinely connecting people together to strengthen each other as the global Church, all intricately building together to form what He sees on the puzzle box top. After all, His plans are all about people. God is passionate about His Church...it’s what Jesus gave His life for...and the Church isn’t buildings (although it’s great to have places to meet!) -- it’s people!
While many verses in the Bible confirm that building the Church is on the “front burner” of God’s priorities, one of my faves is found in Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG, which says: “...At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” The Church is central...it’s not peripheral, on the outskirts or irrelevant. Nope! The Church takes top billing, and Christ is the head of the Church. He’s actively building the Church and helping each person connect with their divine purpose.
You may have thought “I’m one person, what does my part in building the Church matter?” Or, you may have thought “God’s going to make His own plans happen...He doesn’t need me.” Let me encourage you today...YOU matter! YOU are a critical puzzle piece in the set. If you had a 1,000 piece puzzle, and you put it all together only to find out ONE piece was missing...can you visualize that? Even though 999 pieces are in place, it’s so glaring that the ONE piece is missing! That’s YOU!
>>God designed you for a purpose. YOU play an essential role in building the Church. God has a divinely implanted purpose for your life...don’t miss out on it!
Not only do you need to know that your puzzle piece matters, but you also need to see how critical the connection to others truly is! One puzzle piece alone doesn’t show the splendor of the full masterpiece...it takes the puzzle pieces being connected, each in its divinely appointed place...that makes the puzzle complete!
Specifically, connection to others in your local church -- both growing in relationships with others and also serving others with the gifts and talents the Lord has given you -- is vitally important. We can’t see clearly what our own puzzle piece looks like and how it fits without connecting to others.
God is passionate about building the Church...it is front and center on His priority list...and it’s His desire for each of us to connect with each other in our local church! Let’s help build the Church and in doing so, we’ll gain insights into our own puzzle piece and the special role we play in God’s plan.
YOU matter. Others need you. The Church is stronger with YOU plugged in and connected. If you’re not already connected to your local church, what are you waiting for? The time is now! Plug in, and continue to join me each week in The Basics Weekly Devo as we dig into this topic even more and encourage you in your God-given purpose!
Say This: “Father, thank You that You created me with a purpose. Thank You that I am part of Your divine plans in building the Church and helping others. Please help me to connect in a more significant way with my local Church, and I speak in faith that as I connect and serve others in my local Church, You’ll help me to see what my purpose is and how I can use my gifts and talents to help further the Lord’s top priority -- building His Church! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Have you ever wondered what God thinks about money? About our finances, meeting our needs and having abundance to share? For sure there are lots of opinions and teachings about the subject of “prosperity” (even that word has become a bit “yikes!” in Christian culture today), but let’s dive straight into the Bible to see what the Word says about this basic topic.
Let’s start with this passage:
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 NLT
>> Wow, there’s so much in that text, right? Let’s unpack it a bit.
1. First, let’s define “rich.” You may think that “rich” only means those in Hollywood, with multi-million dollar mansions -- and probably a handful of Bentleys. But actually -- this verse applies to all of us! If we take a truly global view...it’s possible that most of us reading the devo today could be considered rich, in the global economy. There are many studies that show if you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you’re “richer” than 75% of the world. Wow -- we have a lot to be grateful for!
2. The issue is trust. Notice that being rich...or more simply stated, having money...isn’t the issue here. Why? Because money itself is neutral! It’s not good or bad -- it just “is.” The important thing in this passage is not to put our TRUST in money because it’s unreliable! Instead, our trust should be in the Lord!
Take a moment for a quick check-up here...are you trusting in your paycheck, or trusting the Lord who provides you with the talents and opportunities to earn that income? Are you trusting in your bank account, home and cars, or is your trust in the One who’s behind all of those blessings? I encourage you today to make sure your trust is in the Lord. He is the only firm foundation to build your life on!
3. God wants you blessed! While there is so much in the 1 Timothy 6:17-19 passage that we could dive into, I want to draw your attention to one more aspect of it today...God wants you to prosper and to enjoy life. Yes, friends, I said “enjoy” life! He wants your life full of good things, both for your enjoyment and to provide you with blessings so you can bless others and be outrageously generous! This may be a new or foreign concept for you, so again let’s go back to what the Bible says about it.
Let’s look at that same passage one more time, but now in The Passion Translation: “To all the rich of this world, I command you not to be wrapped in thoughts of pride over your prosperity, or rely on your wealth, for your riches are unreliable and nothing compared to the living God. Trust instead in the one who has lavished upon us all good things, fulfilling our every need. Remind the wealthy to be rich in good works of extravagant generosity, willing to share with others. This will provide a beautiful foundation for their lives and secure for them a great future, as they lay their hands upon the meaning of true life.”
Do you see, from this passage, that we should trust in God -- the one who lavishes upon us all good things...how amazing is that? And then it goes on to remind us to be rich in good works, extravagant in generosity and willing to share with others! Doesn’t this sound like the “blessed to be a blessing life?” Sign me up!!
Here’s the bottom line: God wants you, yes YOU, to enjoy life and to be blessed to be generous to others! And God wants to bless you even more than He already has! Set your heart upon Him, place your trust in Him and His Word...and watch Him overflow your life with blessings to both enjoy and to share.
If your head is going a bit “tilt” on this subject, that’s okay. I encourage you to spend some time meditating on His Word (check out the Scriptures recommended below) and allow the Lord to speak to your heart and renew your mind on this subject.
Say This: “Father, thank You that you fill my life with good things. Thank You for your generosity towards me and I ask You to stir up a generous spirit in me, so I can be a blessing to others! I believe Your Word that You fulfill my every need, so Lord today I lift up these needs and ask for Your provisions and wisdom in these areas: ___________________. I put my trust in You and believe that the best is yet to come! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”