spiritual

Using Your Life Experience To Serve The Lord

            graur razvan ionut at freedigitalphotos.net

How should we use our life experience to serve the Lord?

That was the question that John Ketchersid asked in his sermon yesterday. Taking the passage in Luke 5, John explored the situation where Peter lets Jesus preach from his boat, then, because Jesus asks him to, puts his nes into the water even though he had been fishing all night without catching a single fish. He catches a ton of fish, then when Jesus asks him to leave it all and follow him, Peter does just that. He leaves all to follow the Savior.

So what does this teach us about serving the Lord? This is what John said:

  • We serve the Lord by USING our experience, expertise, and resources. Peter was a fisherman and had a boat. He used what he had to help Jesus teach the people by letting Jesus use his boat.   We all have things in our lives that we can use for God’s kingdom, whether it is our time, our money, or our experience. God’s kingdom is blessed when His people use whatever He has given them.
  • Serving the Lord IN SPITE OF our experience, expertise, and resources. When Jesus asks Peter to put out his nets after they had fished all night with no success, you can just imagine Peter’s thoughts. Seriously? I have been fishing for years! I know how to fish and I can tell you right now, we are not going to catch any fish. It is late in the day and I’ve already cleaned my nets. And then “Master, because you asked, I will do it.” Sometimes we let our experience, our knowledge, and our abilities get in the way of the kingdom. We think we know best, when in fact we know nothing about what is best for the kingdom. It is when we follow Jesus in spite of what we know that life gets exciting and God’s kingdom is realized here on earth.
  • Serving the Lord by LEAVING our experience, expertise, and resources. Jesus told Peter to follow him, and he would make Peter a fisher of men. What I thought interesting is that he added, “Don’t be afraid.” Leaving what you know and do and are good at is frightening! We like feeling secure in what we know. We want to feel in control of our life and do what we think is best. But Jesus says to not be afraid of leaving it and following Him. We can rest in His love for us as we take that leap of faith to follow Him with all that we are. 
Following Jesus is such a great adventure. Sure, it is scary. Sure, we don’t like the insecurity. But oh…let’s not miss out what God has for us! He has a great mission for us if we will only let Him show us the way. 
It is in our submission to Him – serving God by using...in spite of…and leaving our experience, expertise, and resources – that we can truly participate in this adventure as a Christ follower. What an exciting journey! 
May God bless you this week!   

DIY, Pinterest

Making A Pin With PicMonkey

I found a cool toy through Mary DeMuth! She has created a free PDF file with step-by-step instructions on how to create a Pinterest Pin with PicMonkey. You can find the instructions on her site HERE.

I uploaded one of my own pictures on the PicMonkey…which is FREE by the way…and added text.

Once you have your picture, save it to your computer, then upload it to your blog. Once you have your blog post published, you can then upload it into Pinterest. Just go to your Pinterest page, click the Add button, then Add Pin. Paste in the URL of your blog post, pick the picture you want to be pinned, then Pin! The Pin will directly be linked to you blog.

Check out Mary DeMuth’s blog for detailed instructions HERE.

spiritual

How To Know You Are In A Wilderness

Photo by James Barker
freedigitalphotos.net

Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby spoke at church yesterday and she had a great message for this Lent season. Taking the passage from Luke 4:1-13 where Jesus is led into the desert, she brought up the whole idea of being in the wilderness and what that means.

The meaning is lost in the translation of when the devil said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Basically, in the Greek it would read “Because you are the Son of God” or “Since you are the Son of God”. Jesus is not being tempted to prove He is divine. Even the devil knows who His is. He is really being tempted to show He has the ability to control the situation, whether it be turn stone into bread, or call angels to His aid.

Jesus knew whose mission He was on…God’s mission to reconcile the world to Himself. Knowing this mission, Jesus could rest in his dependence on God, even in the midst of great trial in the wilderness.

According to McLaughlin-Sheasby, you can know you are in a wilderness season when:

  • You didn’t choose to be where you are.
  • Your circumstances are beyond your control.
  • God is silent.

So often we cry out to God, asking for a road map…a sign…something to let us know where we are going, but if we had a road map, what would we do? We would dodge the wilderness!

Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby

And why is the wilderness so important? It is in the wilderness where you learn to truly depend on God. So often we try to control our situations. We want to “fix it” and make things better. We don’t hear from God so we think we have to do it all on our own. Well, that is not depending on God, and we will make ourselves exhausted in the wilderness if we go that route. It is when we truly give up control and rely on God that we find rest and peace in the wilderness.

So what is it that you are reaching for control in? What areas of your life do you need to let go and depend on God? 

Thank you, Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby, for your God-given words Sunday. They gave me much to reflect on as I enter this season of Lent.

personal

Valentine Sweets

I received some wonderful goodies yesterday on Valentine’s Day. And I took pictures! Just because I like playing with my camera, you know. Now this first shot is with my dumb phone at the office. I work with such a great group of ladies!

Now for the cupcakes! I found these on the kitchen counter when I got home from work. They are from my oldest son and his wife. I wish I had taken a picture of the smoothie my second son made me for breakfast…it was delicious!

Blurry!!!!!!!!!

And here is what my husband gave me. Flowers and fruit. Such a sweet man…I am spoiled rotten and love it!

I hope your Valentine’s was a nice one. Have a great weekend!

love, purpose, spiritual

What Is Your Purpose?

Photo by Victor Habbick
freedigitalphotos.net

God has used doves to speak to me at various times. You might be rolling your eyes at me, but it’s true. Once I was going through a hard time and asked God to show me He was really there with me. I was on the front porch swing and a dove across the street flew right toward me and swooped up at the last second. My heart just about stopped with awe, because it was such a tangible way for God to show me His presence. Since then  He has continued to use doves in the the same way. It always happens when I am troubled or hurting or upset about something, and it always reassures me of God’s presence in the midst of my angst.

So when a dove practically led me to church yesterday (the dove flew in front of my car on the street to our church, leading me for several blocks, then lit on the the telephone line directly above the church’s entrance), I knew God had something good in store for our church gathering. As we walked into the church building, I told my boys how God speaking to me through doves made me feel like my life had more meaning being connected with God like that…that my life had purpose.

And then guess what the sermon was about? PURPOSE. Yes, indeed. Don’t you love it when God orchestrates an awesome string of circumstances to speak to you directly?

Basically the sermon hit upon the very thing I told my boys…being in tune with God, loving Him with my whole being gives me purpose in this life.

Every inventor creates something for a specific purpose. If you used a light bulb to make a flower arrangement, you are not using the light bulb for its intended purpose…a purpose that would be glorious in its illumination…a purpose that would benefit the world in darkness.

God created us for a specific purpose and when we don’t use our lives for that purpose we miss His glorious presence and will never be fulfilled on this earth.

So what is our purpose? You know it, really.

Our purpose is fulfilled in loving the Lord.

    “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. …” Matthew 22:37-38

When you love Him…truly love Him and spend time with Him…you fulfill His purpose for your life. For when you love someone, you want to spend time with them. You admire them and want to be like them. And that is true with God. When we spend time with Him, we learn how to be like Him. And when we are like Him, we can love others better.

Loving God and loving others. Simple really. But so often we stray from our purpose. Oftentimes we think our purpose in life is the talent or abilities that God has given us. That may be our calling in life, but it isn’t our purpose. We can be a great artist and make our living at it, but it is not our purpose in life.

Our purpose is simple. Love God with your whole being. 

So how do you do that? How are you going to grow in love for God? Here are some suggestions:

  • Spend time with Him. You prioritize your time to spend time quality time with Him. He is important and deserves our time above all other activities in your life. During this time, talk to Him, read His word, meditate on His goodness. 
  • Go to church and worship with fellow believers. There is something special about the collective worship of people to the same GOD. There is unity and there is purpose in it. 
  • Spend time with other believers. There is much encouragement to be found when you take the time to be with others who love God like you do. 
  • Seek God throughout your day. He is working around you each and every day. Try to find Him in your day to day activities. You will be surprised at how He is at work in the small details of your life.
How are you growing in love for God? I’d love to hear what you do!

**Thanks to John Ketchersid at the Plymouth Park Church of Christ for an awesome sermon!