I want to talk today about something that has been weighing on my heart for a little while now.  But first, I have to apologize…

John and I (& the girls!) had the chance to go to Houston this weekend to see some dear friends, and to visit with Jonathon.  (I’ll tell you about those in another post – we got a WONDERFUL surprise and had a great visit!)  We didn’t get home until Sunday afternoon, and we had to start work on unpacking the remainder of our stuff from our “faux move!”  Looooong…long story….  Anyway, I apologize for not getting a Sharpen Your Sword post up yesterday, and hope to remedy that this week with a special Thanksgiving Post.

Couple of notes: 

1)  Countdown to John being home officially:  SIX DAYS!  Friday is his last day in Sulphur and he will be back home working only 40 minutes from the house – for good!  YAY!  We have waited almost TWO WHOLE YEARS for this!  It has given me new insight into what our service men and women and their families endure for our freedom….we need to always thank them for what they sacrificed for us…

To all my dear friends and family who read this….thank you for serving and thank you to your familes for being willing to sacrifice with you.

Ok,

2)  If you read this blog, would you mind leaving me a comment?  I love hearing what others think about my blog, and it shows me that someone out there is relating to what I write!  And feel free, PLEASE!, to share my blog with all your friends!  I am praying that God uses my words to communicate His love and desire for all to be saved.  So, if you enjoy it, tell me and tell someone else!  And thank you in advance!

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Now, for today’s REAL blog!

Recently, God has placed in my heart a message about the gifts, blessings, and talents He so graciously bestows upon each of us (1Corinthians 4:7).  Some of us receive blessings in the form of finances:  large home, plenty to eat, abundant wealth, expertise in budgeting, knowledge of saving and frugality, etc.  Others are endowed with tremedous spiritual gifts in areas such as preaching, teaching, discerning, counseling, etc.  Still others have been blessed with talents such as artistic ability, computer knowledge, writing, photography, imagination, organization, etc.  And of course, I couldn’t possibly list all the potential gifts and blessing the Creator has seen fit to impart to us. 

So many times, we see our gifts as a way to do something for us.  Something we can use to increase our wealth, fame, and personal glory.  We decide, in our imperfect human heart, that God has granted us this thing to provide us with all we can acquire through its use!  Seldomly do we stop to think what He really intended that gift, talent, or blessing to be used to accomplish.

God has told us we are to go into all the nations and preach the Good News (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 15:15).  If that is so, why would He choose to bless us in any way at all with the intention that it will be used to further only OUR cause, or bless only US financially?  My contention is that He wouldn’t.  Yes, I think He provides for our needs using those talents, but I think that all too often, we miss the bigger picture of what the Lord wants to do through us using the unique gifts and blessings He has given.

For instance, we have some dear friends who have been blessed financially, and with a large home.  Since they’re children have moved away to college and grown up, they have been able to be used by God to provide a place for many people to call their “home away from home.”  John & I have been among the many blessed by them in this way.  I can’t count the number of times we have stayed at their home for various reasons – visiting, business, hurricanes, etc.  And they are always so gracious.  They have opted to use their blessings to bless others.  It may seem a small thing to some, but to the ones on the receiving end of their generosity, it is anything but.

There are those who are blessed with a significant amount of wealth.  Does God want those people to use that wealth for their own gain, or does He have a higher purpose?  I dare say He has a MUCH bigger plan.  (Malachi 3:10) But we have to be willing to let go.  We have to be willing to leave it ALL behind, if that’s what He chooses (Mark 10:17-34 – ESPECIALLY v.21).  God can restore double or more what He takes away – read Job in your Bible – if He chooses.  But it requires our obedience.

The same goes for gifts and talents.  I feel like God has blessed me with good communication skills, although some might disagree!  And I have thought about MANY ways to exploit those skills in an attempt to create financial gain for myself.  Each time, I keep coming back to the fact that if GOD gave it to me, I should let HIM decide how to use it.  And, if it blesses me financially, great.  If it doesn’t, great.  The point is, I don’t want to exploit any talent I have been given anymore.  I love to write, and I love photography, and I will earn income from either or both only if it is God’s will.  But, I want Him to choose.  I know God gives each of us our talents and gifts based on the plan He has for our lives.  I know that His intention is for those talents to be used in growing the Kingdom of God in Heaven.  If I write a book, and it causes financial gain for me, great.  But it is only a good thing if it adds to the Kingdom of God.  My stepdad likened it to the Parable of the Talents in the Bible (Matthew 25:14-30).  And, that is so true.  We shouldn’t be hiding what God has given (in the form of a job or business, even), we should be multiplying it in the Kingdom!

If you are familiar with Christian music, you may have heard of an artist by the name of John Waller.  I love his music.  One of his songs is about what all who love Christ want to do:  “something BIG.  Something so big its destined to fail without You, Lord.  Something greater than me.”  I believe that we can do just that, with God, through the talents and gifts He has given.  It has to be His will – apart from that its “destined to fail.” 

So, today and all this week, especially this week, look around and look in the mirror.  What blessings are you holding on to that God is calling you to give back to Him?  What do you have that you don’t really NEED?  What talent has God blessed you with that you have used only for your own gain?  Is there something you do well and love to do that you know, deep down in your soul, that God put their for His use? 

I encourage each of you to pray, earnestly.  And I will be praying also – for you & me.  That we will all coming to a knowledge of the will of God in our lives and that we can have the courage and strength to give up what we must, and submit our gift and our life to Him completely.  EVERY ONE of us has a purpose.  EVERY ONE of us has someone we can bless – somehow.  It may be someone you know, it may be someone you don’t know yet.  It may be someone you never meet this side of Heaven.  Luke 12 :48 says, “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” 

We have all been given much – by way of different types of blessings….how are you using yours?

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