Are you using your gifts and talents that God has given you to the best of your abilities? All of us can be challenged by this question and for most of us the question probably strikes a chord. In Romans 12:11 we are challenged:
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (NIV)
God calls us to use our gifts and to do so with zeal and fervor. God does not want us to be afraid, rather he wants us to use our gifts and be strengthened through him. When we allow God to take the lead and let our gifts and talents show, the true reason for our gifts and talents can be achieved as described in 1 Peter 4:10-11
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (NIV)
As we embark on the Christmas week ahead, let us not forget about the greatest gift of all and why this gift was given. As we give and receive gifts this year, may we also think about the gifts and talents that God has given us to be used every day of our lives. Be challenged this week to seek God’s plans for you and how he wants to use your gifts, talents, and abilities to further his kingdom and to impact others. Seek his guidance and he will give you strength–2 Timothy 1: 6-7
“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (NLT)
For devotions this morning we’re going to talk about Christmas. Not what we’ve come to know as Christmas here in America, with its over the top craziness, commercialism, and commitments. But the Christmas that celebrates the birth of Jesus, the Christ, born about 2000 years ago. An actual historic event that’s been celebrated all over the world for centuries. He was obviously no ordinary baby. In fact, this innocent baby who was found in the manger, would be destined to a horrible death on the cross. He came to live, to serve, and to die. Ultimately saving His people from sin. He was born to take on the guilt of His people upon Himself, and to die in their place. To be the Savior for those who believe.
A simple challenge for all of us: Which Christmas do we celebrate? And how will Christmas be passed down in our families?
Check out this video by Dove Awards, 2014 New Artist Of The Year, Ellie Holcomb.
You never know when or where you are going may get an opportunity to lend a hand. During the halftime of a recent high school basketball game, the Sibley Ocheydan dance team was doing a routine to Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake It Off” when the sound system started cutting out.
What was cool was that the student sections from both the home and visiting school (MOC-FV) start singing the song to help the dance team keep dancing. Way to lend a helping hand (or voice)!
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31: 24
As the ebola crisis is no longer front page news in the U.S. let’s not forget those that continue to suffer from the devastating disease in West Africa. Also pray for the people that are fighting to save lives on the front line of the battle.
Learn more at: www.samaritanspurse.org
The topic is racial tension is a real one in this world…no doubt. It’s alive and well today. All you have to do is watch or read the news and you’ll see it. It’s crazy out there. There’s things going on that are just out of control. There’s hate, murder, and looting. Even much of the protesting has gotten out of hand. No matter what you think about the issue…or what side you may or may not be on…it’s real.
But maybe it’s not so much ‘race’ that you have tension with. Maybe it involves other ‘topical’ groups…like homosexuals, prostitutes, the poor, the rich, the liberals, the conservatives, a different religion, a different denomination, or the long haired and tattooed. Whatever it is, it’s real to you.
Now imagine if you got a hold of your family genealogy and found out that you come from a long line of everything listed above. You could find examples of all of examples in the different generations of your blood line. A line of sin and brokenness. What would you think?
As we enter the Christmas season remember this, our Savior Jesus comes from a line of brokenness as well. Matthew 1: 1-17 gives the genealogy of Jesus. In it are some famously great names in the faith…all of which made some huge, bumming mistakes. They committed sins against God. There’s also some folks who are not so famous because of their ordinary, but yet sinful life. There’s even listed some names of women (which wasn’t normal to add). For example, Tamar (vs 3) was a lady who had children by her father in law. Rahab (vs 5) was a prostitute. Ruth (vs 5) was a Moabite…which was a nationality hated by Jews. Bathsheba (vs 6) was a wife that David stole from another man.
The point here is that in Jesus’ lineage God broke down racial barriers by including nations outside His covenant people. He broke down barriers by including broken, sinful people of all kinds. He broke down sex barriers by making it possible for all people to be equal before Him. And He did all this so Jesus could be someone we could actually identify with.
May we remember who He is and where He came from as we enter into the Christmas season. May we look to love Him…and to love others. No matter what they look like or do.
There are two things to consider when thinking about the power of the “domino effect:” the first is how you line things up. The second, is that the momentum build up starts with a simple little push. (The following video is a commercial but the demonstration of the domino effect is the amazing thing we need to consider)
The Mission of Pizza Ranch is “to glorify God by positively impacting the world.” In Pizza Ranches all over the Midwest, “how do we impact our world” is a continual question, and a constant conversation. Most have community impact nights where people and organizations can raise funds for their cause.
One of the causes that many of our rural Pizza Ranches support is Farm Rescue.
Farm Rescue provides planting, harvesting and haying assistance to farm families that have experienced a major injury, illness or natural disaster. Our mission is to help family farmers’ bridge crises so they have an opportunity to continue viable operations.
Imagine, your entire income is predicated on you—the farmer—either planting or harvesting your crop. It’s not like a farmer can say, “well it will wait until I get better.” The critical nature of farmer totally depends upon planting and harvesting at the appropriate time and season. Farm Rescue comes in to help farmers in need at just the right time.
“Begin with the end in mind.”
Stephen Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.