Doing Big Things

So many of us think others are holding us back, yet it is our own fears that limit us. How do we get rid of them, quickly? God wants to show us the way to go. It’s not always our way, but he leads us in the right direction. This is a testimony of how God freed me from the fear of doing big things.

Is there some stretching, bending and yielding that has had to happen in your life lately?

What blocks us from doing the big stuff God wants to do in our lives? Have you ever wondered what it is for you? I admit, for a long time, I thought it was other people who blocked me, but in several years of allowing God to search my soul and show me my ways, I’ve learned that the only thing that blocks me is ME… through what I believe about me, others and the world around me.

As we tell our stories and bare our souls, our vulnerability brings healing to others, so I pray that happens through my writing. The truth is, that when we are weak, God is strong. I am so thankful for how God has been fighting for me lately. In the last week I’ve had some deeply hidden strongholds of my mind bubble up and expose themselves. These are mindsets that have blocked my path. They were small things that I tolerated, one choice at a time that became big things, and they had become a part of my identity that I accepted.

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Have you every heard words like “God is going to do big things in your life?” I always wondered why I didn’t like “big”. Big things overwhelmed me. I liked to be in a small church, where I could manage things in small ways. When I came to a big church, I felt so intimidated. When I felt like God was leading us to move a few years ago, we had a 2750 square foot house. It felt big. I just wanted an open family room, that’s all. But God has a sense of humor. He said, “Go bigger.”

“What?!” Yet it was clear, and move we did. Now THIS is me, or who I thought I was….. My idea of happy was a small camper that I could clean in 15 minutes and then sit down, rather than in a big, giant house. I liked things close. I like people close, in my grasp, where they couldn’t escape spending time with me.

I was a leader of many things in a smaller church, but when I moved to bigger churches, I didn’t know how to lead or where I fit in. I never got past “small” in my mind. I taught small groups, and occasionally, I was asked to speak, but I always seemed to hit a barrier or limitation when it came to doing what was prophesied over my life in a consistent way. God had me deal with myself in the prayer closet. I stayed in “the closet”, literally, the prayer closet for years. I needed to be in there!… to pray for myself! I helped lots of other people through my time in the closet and received many visions of what could happen, yet I never felt ready to do them.

I was intimidated by those who led big things well, yet deeply respected them. They had positions that took work to achieve. Often I figured they must to be more qualified, or more talented, or more able to coordinate things that I was. Or, I would feel a bit of shame that they just worked harder than I did. It surely was true in many respects. I had realized this fear the night before and was feeling anxious about what doing big things could look like in my life.

This Sunday, it was a lovely morning here in Indiana. A great morning to sit on the porch swing before church and pray. I opened my heart to receive some much needed wisdom from God. I was ready to write it in my new journal. As I sat down, this verse reference popped into my head – Psalm 34:6.

“In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.”

“Troubles.. troubles”… The word troubles stood out to me and I prayed, “Ok Lord, what ARE my troubles?” Quickly, I heard “belief system”.  That’s it. “Ok,” I reflected. “So, what is my belief system? I’m listening.” I heard no more, but instead felt sure I was done “sitting there” and had to get up and go for a walk. I trusted God was going to speak to me “as I went”. I went inside to tell the kids where I was going, but instead Jack, my son, said, “Go for a walk mom.” OK. That was clear. So I headed out, asking God which direction to go.

I stood at the edge of the driveway, listening for how the Holy Spirit was leading me. Noticing my reaction to the nudges I was feeling to going right. “I usually go left,” was my initial thought. It was easier, because there was no sun in my eyes as I came back, but I felt the nudge to go right. Then I had a stupefyingly simple revelation, “I have sunglasses and I just found them this week!” So I went inside, got those and headed right.

I walked a mile and came to the end of my road. I had always turned back when I got there. I was a mile, after all, and usually seemed far enough, but I felt like I could not turn back. I had to keep going. It was a pretty busy road, not seemingly pedestrian friendly in my mind. Yet, “Go full circle,” came to mind. Now realize, we live in the country and so it’s not like going around the block is a small task. But as I looked right, I could already see the flashing stop light of the next turn. “That’s not so bad,” I reasoned, then, I have only this same distance to go on the next leg, and then I’ll be on an even shorter path. “I can do it,” I realized. What seemed to big now seemed doable to me.

As I turned right and walked down the highway there was a grassy edge, and I came to a pasture on my right where horses were grazing. Three brown horses walked toward me as I approached, as if they wanted to greet me. They stopped about 10-15 feet from the fence from the gate that divided us.

I looked at them.
They looked at me.

Time stood still for a moment as these three horses looked directly at me, into my eyes, and into my soul. “What is happening?” I thought to myself, as this was a completely new experience for me, with horses. There was a connection of souls happening in that moment. I was shaken and stirred and something was being mixed up and rattled loose inside of me.

What I haven’t shared yet here is that I know fear should not be allowed to master us in any way. It always come to intimidate us, but we must overcome it. Yet, there is, or was, one thing in life I have continued to admit that I was still afraid of, and that was horses. They intimidated me because they are big. As a child, I went to a birthday party and there was a horse there. I was tiny. That horse was big and powerful and could easily step on me and crush me if it wanted to. I remained in awe of horses and their power and admired them from afar, but never felt “one” with them in size or spirit until this moment. What I felt as I looked into the eyes of one particular brown horse was that were were equal in stature. We were “co-laborers” in creation. We each had a specific task in life and were made to work together, to respect one another. I felt that respect in that moment. He respected me, and I respected him.

As I continued to look into the eyes of that particular horse, the two others ran off. I asked God if this was something important he was showing me. At that moment, this powerful, elegant, brown horse gazed into my eyes deeply, nodded his big head once, and ran off.

I stood there. Amazed.

Horses are not what I thought they were, scary enemies, or a threat. They were kindred spirits whom God would speak through- to me! I felt known by a horse in that moment, and I believe I saw God’s spirit through the eyes of that animal. We were both a part of creation made to work together. Communication between us had broken down the barrier of fear that had always existed in me. I feared horses because they were “big”.

I’m not around horses that much, so this fear didn’t seem to make big difference in my life, but as I continued to walk, the pages of my life book began to open up. I began to see how the fear of “big things” came from this small root of fear. If that horse wasn’t really against me, then other “big” things may not be as intimidating either.

The journal I was beginning that weekend was titled “Dream BIG.” Starting the journal title intimidated me a bit. Just the night before I wrestled and struggled internally with a word of expansion that God seemed to speak to me. Was it a test of my reaction? I asked my self, “Do I dream big? Have I really? Do I allow myself?” The truth was that God has put big dreams that I had been afraid to act on. There were things I would allow to become interference and excuses for why I couldn’t do it now. It was true, that I couldn’t do it until I overcame this fear, fear of doing something big or that big would overwhelm me. Of course, in my own strength, big would be overwhelming. But, if God was the God of that horse, and of me, then we were both on the same team. I didn’t need to be afraid of what lay ahead. I realized God was freeing me now to a new level of capacity. This fear had taken up a big place in my soul and I was seeing how it was operating.

I went back to my porch swing and began to write. As I did, I paid attention to how I “felt” as I sat there… I was able, not less, not smaller than everyone else that seemed big and powerful. I was chosen for something special. You were too. I only had to listen to that verse and believe it. “In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” ( Psalm 34:6, NLT) I thank God for showing me my “troubles”, or at least one of them. I have yet another to log as well. It is worth the journey to ask God to show us why we have limitations. We can assume it is all the enemy, but really it is what we believe. This verse has always been a driving force for me, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteousness.” It’s not my performance that makes me sane, or saved, but it’s my beliefs and my confession. As I’ve been praying for more faith, like Abraham had, these types of revelations are unfolding in my life. I pray for you, that you let God unfold the mysteries of your life.

Open your heart and mind to hear. Ask God where your limitations come from. They are not from him, but often rooted deep inside our souls, buried and tolerated in some way we have yet to discover.

“This is the way. Walk in it. “

Isaiah 30:19-22 “People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”

Do you want peace?

I woke up worshiping the Lord this morning, reflecting on all the great things I heard Him do yesterday through my friend’s life. Not feeling any particular need, I asked God, “What question today Father?” I heard, “Do you want peace?” “Yes,” I quickly replied. I was in a moment of peace, so I knew that the peace I currently had was not what the Lord was referring to. It was perfect timing to let God stir more in my heart in this area and I opened my mind to receive and understand what it meant. I heard the verse, “My peace I leave with you, MY peace I give to you, not as (in the way) the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither be afraid.”

Lord, I thank you for YOUR peace. For the gift of peace, that it is completely different than a momentary bit of sanity. It’s far beyond things going right for us, it’s rooted in faith. Peace comes through faith.

I realized that although I could think of nothing to ask, through that question, “Do you want peace?” I was still guilty of the sin of unbelief. There can be no place for this to hide in my life. God’s peace is “not as the world gives”, so where did I lack that? Unrest comes when there are areas of conflict between what is true and what is false. Only God is pure truth. There can be no reliance, or faith in, the things of the world because peace does not come through that. Perfect peace passes understanding. It is joy and life. It hopes all and believes all. I thought of a time as a kid when I was on a bus trip and I noticed the cows in the field. I made some simple observation about how content the cows must be since they don’t need to deal with winter in this state and was ridiculed for noticing such seemingly ridiculous things. I’m sure it was not meant maliciously, but it was the reaction of the world and it disturbed my peace.

How many times have I let others’ opinions have input into my life, when their opinions were not based on the peace that comes from God? Too many. I’ve even received advice that seems wise, but it not God’s perfect way, and I asked God to pull out every one of those thoughts so I can live clearly in abundant life, as He wills for  me. Anything we receive that is not from the mouth of Jesus can decrease our faith if we are not careful to guard our  mind.

Lord, pull out every root of unbelief and untruth in my life and overturn every thought that has not been yours. Let your life and your own words be my “how to” manual for life. You have riches for us in peace and peace comes through faith. I have valued things that you find worthless and mixed your truth with my experience. It has lowered my effectiveness and dimmed the reflection of you in me, infecting others. Forgive me Lord. I will have no more of it and I pray for all reading this, that they will have no more of it either.

There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death – death in our faith, and death in our faith leads to sickness, poverty, and it is doubt in general. I thank you that I dwell in you and declare you as my guide. (I have an awesome spirit guide.)  I thank you Lord, for pointing out that even when I feel at peace, it needs to be a peace that remains – always – consistently – abiding in my soul because I abide in you and am rooted in your Being.

I drew a line in the sand before myself this morning to repent of all unbelief and crossed it. What an awesome question. “Do you want peace?” Is the Lord not more wise than we imagine every day?! He knows what we need to understand and long for. I’ve been soaking in John 15 this month and this is what it speaks of, remaining IN Him, especially in my mind. This brings peace. So, “Yes Lord” I want peace. I want peace so that John 15:7-8 will be evident to all though my life. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so PROVE to be my disciple.” – Let that be my next journey of growth, Father. Lord, help me and heal every wound of unbelief that would take me out of peace. Let my feet follow your steps.

I ask forgiveness from all who have been affected by my unbelief, in any way that I did not look like Jesus when you spoke to me, or met me, or when I prayed for you. I am sorry, and I pray that you will not only meet someone who looks like him, but become so like Him yourself that unbelief runs when you walk in the room because it will be exposed by your near presence. I pray that I will look more like Him from now on. Keep me simple Lord. Let it be. Amen.

Following the Leader: Part 1- The Nature of God as a Father and Jesus as our Teacher

Recently, we were facing a big decision and feeling prompted by the Lord to take a step of faith. My husband and I had to ask God for an answer and believe that he would speak, as mentioned in James 1. We had to believe we would hear the answer right away.

We have a Father in heaven who loves us and our children even more than we are able to love our own children, or ourselves. I thought of the verse yesterday that said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11, NIV) There are many good gifts our Father wants to give us. One of them is physical healing.

Someone asked this question of me yesterday. “Who am I to ask that God take this pain away if He wants to use it for His glory?”  The heart of the Father stirred in me and I felt overwhelming compassion for this person, just as I would have felt if my little boy came to me looking feverish, but didn’t understand that I was willing and desirous to help.

If your child was sick, through no fault of his own, perhaps he had a migraine or the flu, or cancer, and you had the ability to heal them, would you let him suffer for his own good and withhold the medicine? Would we give him a placebo, or a slower acting medicine so he could model silent suffering as he was blinded by pain or the side effects of chemotherapy? Even the non-believing world would see that as bad parenting, or even child abuse. Yet, sometimes we reason that God does that to us because, when we ask, we don’t always get healed right away, sometimes not at all. Don’t be discouraged or doubt the nature of God because of your experience! The disciples were LEARNING how to do what Jesus commanded, but sometimes they didn’t see the results either. The problem isn’t in the nature of God or in our worthiness to be healed. We are in a parent/child relationship with the Almighty God.

Why doesn’t God heal me then? Why do I still suffer, even if someone has prayed for me, or I have asked? Most of us have asked that question at some point. I have learned much from Jesus’ example. He told me to do all that he commanded. He told the disciples to go and teach others everything He commanded, that they should then tell others. So, as the good note taker I am, I’ve gone back to study all that He commanded so I could try to do that.

One thing He said was, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and cleanse the lepers.” Ok, so I tried it. It didn’t work the first time I tried. Why doesn’t it always work? Does it mean the gifts have ceased?  … There is no evidence of that in scripture that I can find, but here’s a teaching tip he gave to His first disciples from Mark chapter 9. It’s like a parenting conversation between Jesus and the disciples. The disciples are talking to Jesus after going out to heal the sick and deliver people from evil. The say, “What went wrong? We did what you told us to do!” But they weren’t mature in understanding yet…

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Did you note that Jesus didn’t say “Everything is possible for ME.” He said, “Everything is possible for THE ONE WHO BELIEVES.”

The disciples believed in Jesus, they just didn’t believe they could cast out that demon. We can have faith in God but not faith in what he said we can do. The enemy knows this and fails to listen when we don’t understand the true nature of faith and authority. “Jesus I know, and Paul I’ve heard of, but who are YOU?” demons once said to some who were trying to cast them out. Authority comes through faith and relationship.

The disciples were growing up in faith and in their knowledge of the nature of God, just as we all are. Like little preschoolers, they were trying to do what they saw their parent doing.. Give yourself grace and then persevere to understand more so we don’t frustrate Jesus… because it looks like Jesus had a bit of frustration when he said, “You unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

Haven’t we felt this with out own children as we are training them? We teach them to do something and they say, “I couldn’t do it” or they just don’t do it and we end up doing it ourselves. Here Jesus says, “Fine, I’ll do it myself, but I expected you to do it.” We know they COULD do it if they tried and believed they could, because we’ve given them the tools and the direction, yet they quit before they succeed. Just because our children don’t understand, doesn’t mean they can’t learn or they can’t do it. It sounds like Jesus is having a parenting moment here to me. He’s modeling the Father’s nature, his power toward those who believe, yet his followers are not fully grown up into who they called him to be. Just look at the progress of Peter!

We MUST trust the words of Christ, the God who cannot lie. God calls himself “Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals”. In Jesus example, He healed all who came to him and asked. In Jesus, He showed his true nature. Jesus was the visible representation of the invisible God we struggled to understand. He said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” We can know the Father’s will by what Jesus’ did. He didn’t need us to look humble and pitiful, nor to grovel for his help. Would we want our children to look like that? or would we want them strong, confident and in charge!

It is not humility to be less than we are called to be or to receive less than God has promised us. Humility is saying “Yes” to whatever the Father asks, no matter how foolish we look to the world doing it. It is not confidence in the flesh, confidence in our own strength, or our own wisdom.

Recently, we were facing a big decision and feeling prompted by the Lord to take a step of faith. My husband and I had to ask God for an answer and believe that he would speak, as mentioned in James 1. We had to believe we would hear the answer right away. We prayed individually and compared the first thing that came to our heads. I heard the quiet voice say, “You can’t do this in your own strength.” I held that in and asked what my husband heard. He said he heard, “It’s not going to work.” Yikes! I thought. We better ask more about that, so he asked, “What does that mean?” The quiet voice in his head replied, “Doing it your way.” I then shared the confirmation I heard.  That led to a big step of faith into a decision that seemed nutty and unreasonable. We wanted to do what seemed “wise” in the way of the world, get all the answers before we acted, but the Lord said, “It’s not going to work your way.”

Isn’t that what a Father who knows better would say?! “Son, it’s not going to work your way. I have a better plan and I need you to trust me.” Humility is listening to that voice and bowing your way to the one who knows better.

Jesus modeled humility in actual persecution. He submitted to torture and said the disciples would be tortured as well, but for their faith because they confessed the words of the Gospel. Human eyes can’t see who Jesus is, but the spirits could. People didn’t recognize him, because often we are veiled to spiritual things, but when the demons came near him, they shuddered, because they knew his identity. Know your identity. You are filled with the Spirit of the Living God and shine the light of Christ! The veil in the temple has been torn and you have access to the power of the living God who is making all things new! Easter is every day in the Kingdom of God because Jesus came out of the tomb and is the same yesterday, today and forever!~ Ya

Be Overwhelmed by Him and Not by Your Circumstances

Word of encouragement for the day: “Don’t be afraid of the future.”

This weekend I did some house painting. While going through the normal processes, running up and down the stairs for supplies, I had the sudden realization of how “alive” I feel. It was an inner feeling of joy, lightness and energy that had nothing to do with what I was doing. It wasn’t my physical condition that kept me from being worn out, it was my inner spirit thanking God for loving me. It came from my connection to my Father, God.

Then, people came to mind who may not feel this way and my heart grieved for them. I remembered on how hard it must be to live a life apart from knowing God’s heart, where fear had permission to torment us. Sometimes we can forget, even for a minute, how amazing our God is and how he hears our prayers and promises to answer.

If you feel alone today, call on your Father. He is listening. His arms are open. Place yourself there and remain connected. Use your imagination, God made it. The Bible says we are seated with Him in heavenly places, so while your everyday life is going on down here, let your spirit be resting in the arms of God, like a child safe in arms. You never have to leave that spot.

THE FAITH OF GOD. HE KNOWS WHO HE IS.

Do you feel like you waffle in your faith? Do you want more faith? Do you think what God does through you is strong one day and week the next? Sometimes the enemy buffets our mind with doubt. Well, pull those weeds out of your mind today friends and get rid of them! Have faith! Who is your God? He says this:

I am CONSTANT.
I am CONSISTANT.
I am UNCHANGING.
I AM.
Step into the stream of HIS consistency and walk in it.


 

Numbers 23:19-20 “God is not a man, that He should lie,

Nor a son of man, that He should repent;

Has He said, and will He not do it?

Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Behold, I have received a command to bless;

When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.”

Set Me On Fire! Let the Gospel Live Out Loud!

Lord, don’t let us forget what you paid for! Fill us with the fire that lights our bones into a burning passion to make Jesus known and His mercy shine. Let the righteousness of God prevail in all of us. God! Purify our hearts with the power of grace that sets us free from sin! Kill the lie that we will all keep sinning. Your word says that our new nature CANNOT continue in sin, so if we’re still feeling mastered by sin, take us deeper in surrender to you and free us of that monster. (1 John 3:9) We don’t need to live defeated lives of struggle. When trouble comes, we need to be a people who know who our God is! The gospel doesn’t mean we’re still sinful beings and now we’re just free of the consequences. Jesus declared us DEAD to sin, free of sin itself! We’ll have NONE of it. None of it. Nothing that would mis-represent you should be a part of our day. Let the fear of the Lord leave us in awe and make sin repulsive to us.

When we see those trapped by sin, don’t let us tolerate it in their lives either but show us the enemy behind us and let us battle with and for them for the complete freedom, peace and joy that being joined with You brings. Let truth sing out and let it empower people to live the law without a second thought because their new nature compels them. Father, You are holy. I bow before you and ask you to take every thought or word that would cause you cringe. I want to be like you, holy and full of light with feet of peace and hands of healing. Jesus valued the people in front of him and I do too.

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God, dismantle the lies that give us excuses to be less the the glorious new creations that Jesus paid for us to be on the cross! In our hearts, we know grace doesn’t mean we can continue to be drunk, or continue to look at men or women with an ounce of lust in our hearts. Cleanse our thoughts with your purifying fire that we would never disgrace you before those who don’t believe or set a bad example for those who are weaker.

Heal our land. Heal our churches. God! Purify our minds and our hearts so that we don’t get up wondering how we’ll get through out day. Purify our minds so that we can see what YOU can do through our day. Take us. Push us. Don’t let fear rule our hearts. Fear is a spirit from hell. We are not subject to that Spirit when we are IN CHRIST. We are IN CHRIST, one with him through baptism. We rose with him. He shines and so do we. It is not humble, nor is it LOVE to withhold the truth from the person in front of us, it is cowardly and hateful. Kill that in me Lord. Kill it. Let your love pour out of me and set people free. Let the light just shine out of my eyes and into their soul, then out of your massive love displayed on the cross, move their hearts to conviction let every lie be crushed in their lives.

Jesus said there was going to be a day that it would be too late and He, more than anyone in the Bible, talked about the reality of an eternal hell, but he ALSO talked about the mansions he was going to build for us in heaven, for the time we would be where there is no more pain. There is no in between. No lukewarm. Jesus was crushed but not destroyed and persecuted but not destroyed. He rose, left and gave us his spirit so we didn’t have to look like the world anymore. Thank you for freedom. Thank you for killing the pain of rejection, fear, depression and loneliness. I am alive in You and it is the way I choose to live forever. In my mighty Savior’s name, who’s blood I see on my hands and whose light bathes me in glory. Praise Your holy name forever. Amen.

Love and Serving in Hard Places

What is love? We’re supposed to walk in love, in the midst of it, like warm boots in the deep, wet snow. Love is comfort and security in new places. It is the armor that keeps us firm in places that look like chaos. Love is amazing. It disarms anger, it calms fear it remains true when others fail. It casts hope where hope looks dead.

How far will we let love and compassion take us when we follow Christ? Is there an end of the road on our walk with Christ, where Jesus keeps walking and, even though we feel a tug on our heart, we say, “No, sorry Jesus, that’s not my gift. I’m not ready for that. Find someone else.”  What do you call a “follower” at that point- a stopper? Stoppers lead to clogged drains in the ministry flow. This isn’t a guilt trip to move you to do any one particular thing, it’s a reminder that we need to take that step in faith, not matter what the task is. Followers continue to follow, even when it looks like they are not able, or not equipped or utterly helpless. When a follower is helpless in their own strength, they then have to look to the one who they are following and trust that when they don’t know the answer, He will. They rely on God’s power and not their own. (You do know that I’m preaching to myself here, don’t you?)

In the parable of the talents, Jesus makes an example of three servants who received different amounts of talent. In the story, the talents were money, but they represent any gift God has given us. We sometimes begin with a night volunteering, an encouraging card, a few dollars, or maybe God reminds us of a need when we notice that coffee is on sale. Those little thoughts are the parable coming alive through the Holy Spirit. If we are faithful in these small things, according to the parable, we receive more. The more could be so many things, new gifts, talents, money or openings in your time.

When you use THOSE wisely, God says, “Hey! Here’s someone I can work with and trust with what I’ve given.” He opens the storehouse of gifts and talents again. The hardest part of the story is the part that has caused me to repent of many times. It’s when Jesus goes back to the one who just kept his talent hidden because he was afraid do anything with it that we must pay attention. We hear so much about grace and mercy, we often just think we can just go on and expect continued blessings even when we’re disobedient. The kingdom really doesn’t operate that way. When the servant hid his little talent, Jesus didn’t say, “Oh, I understand, it’s ok. I’ll just give you more anyway.” He said exactly this, “You wicked and slothful servant!…Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:14-30

You see. Love costs something. It’s a valuable gift. People die every day. Love moves beyond noticing that someone looks a little down. It looks past anger. It looks into a bad day and cares about why. Love sits down next to that person and asks why.  When love sits down and hears a hard story, it asks God what talent he has that may be used in this situation. It could be finding an answer, sharing wisdom or praying. When love doesn’t know what to do, it calls on the one with five or ten talents to come in to the picture and show him what more experienced love can do. The point is that love never does nothing nor does it think that it can do nothing. 

Sometimes it costs us time to learn how to help in deeper ways at that point and we ask, “Am I willing to make the sacrifice? This may disturb my family life. I’m not sure I’m equipped for that. I’ve never done anything like that before. Isn’t it dangerous? What if………what if…….. what if……what if”

Who’s voice is that? God’s, yours or the devil’s. Maybe these verses will help identify the source and reassure you that the only weapon we need is love.

 1 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit NOT of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

The better question is this…”What if I DON’T do something.” Down at Project Warm, a winter weather amnesty shelter we spend much time at, livers are failing, families are broken, heart attacks happen, feet get frostbite, alcohol numbs pain and unforgiveness and self-hatred batter people on a daily basis – but what love and the power of God can do!  Friendships blossom, people find Jesus, sharing occurs and we war for each other in the battles we face to keep the place running every night. To that, there is no limit. Prayer is moving those mountains for the ones we can reach and testimonies of His faithfulness are being repeated at devotion time. Have you heard a homeless person testify of God’s grace, provision or even physical healing in his life that week? Come and hear that too! Love will grow in your heart and faith for your own struggles.

We all start somewhere on the journey of greater love and action. I promise you that jumping into a completely new environment, we don’t all start out feeling like superman or Jesus. New environments take time to adjust to but if we persevere in love, how we see that environment changes. We get burdened, like Jesus was, to BE the help that people need. It’s not on our own strength. We have the tools Jesus left us and he directs us IF we are available to learn and seek Him – if we are willing to step out of our comfort zone. Jesus didn’t have a comfort zone. He saw what people didn’t see because they looked at the outside and not the inside. People look at the consequence of sin. Jesus healed the hurt. Every problem had a root and Jesus was a good gardener. He had a vision for every person he met. He knew who He created them to be. He will show YOU who he created the people around you to be. Ask him and you’ll love people better and see the good instead of the things that now annoy or scare you. Love brings a great response from people.

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

Are you willing to use that talent you have? Want to spend it? Our God says “Nothing is impossible for those who believe.” We believe that. When compassion hits us, and our sense of injustice at someone’s condition boils our blood and stirs our heart to righteous anger, we have a God who says, “I’m in that with you. Let’s go.”  At that point we humbly say, “Lord, what you do you need me to do.”  Ask him that today. “Lord, what do you need me to do?”