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Brighter Than the Sun

I am just at the very beginning of knowing God. I hopefully have a long road ahead of getting to know Him deeper; instead of it seeming arduous, I see it as a road filled with amazing adventures.

For instance, this morning when reading Acts 26:13, I read these words, written by Luke, about his good friend Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ:  “At midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, ‘brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those journeyed with me.”

These words jumped at me off of my cell phone screen: “brighter than the sun.” Wait just a minute, I need to step back and try and understand what Luke is saying. I cannot even imagine in my small mind a light brighter than the sun. How many times do I try and put God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a box, limiting them? This makes me feel so good inside knowing I am connected to Jesus, who is able to come to earth, from Heaven and produce a light so bright that He is “brighter than the sun.” And it also makes me fear God more knowing that He is extremely powerful, perfectly powerful, and capable of anything. I also recognize that I am not at all powerful and not capable of anything apart from Him. I need more humility in my life to live the life I was created to live in Christ.

Being connected to God, to this bright light, is what we need to overcome the ups and downs of life that we all experience. To overcome the dark times in our lives, to overcome sin, to overcome everything that weighs and tears us down, so that we can live the life we were created to live. “Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).

Jesus is my light source. I seek to invite Him into my life and focus on Him more and more. Although He is brighter than the sun, instead of being blinded, He enables me to see things the way He does.

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Slothful in Zeal

By Special Guest Blogger Michael Blue

I often wrestle with the question of gifting and calling. So much so, that I periodically try to copy someone else’s gifting or calling in my own life.

A few years ago, I heard a pastor tell a story about carrying $100 bills around and giving them out to people as he felt led. These random acts of generosity had led to some remarkable stories. After hearing some stories, I decided I wanted to be a part of some of these types of stories. So, I went to the bank and got four $50 bills. I carried these bills around for about a week, struggling to give them away. (For some reason, I felt weird walking up to strangers and handing them money — okay, maybe that’s not so strange.) After chickening out for the better part of a week, I pulled into a gas station determined to walk in and give the cashier $50. Gathering my courage, I walked up to the cash register, paid for a drink, and handed a $50 bill to the attendant, saying something like, “Here’s a little gift for you to let you know how much God loves you.” Impressive, right? I had done it! Yeah, me. Unfortunately, this is when it became awkward. This sweet young girl looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, but I am not allowed to take tips.” She then handed the money back to me. I tried to protest and convince her it wasn’t a tip, but at this point it was weird. So, I took the money back and walked out the door, deflated.

While this makes a pretty amusing story, it taught me something very important. God gifts us all uniquely, and trying to be someone else simply doesn’t work. I want to have stories like this pastor has, but trying to be him (or be like him) is not honoring to God. God has made me with certain gifts and abilities and those are the things that I need to cultivate in following Him.

This point was driven further home when I was studying Romans 12. Paul, in this chapter, is talking about spiritual gifts and the uniqueness of each person’s gift. He writes in verse 11, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Reading this verse in the context of the chapter, I believe Paul is exhorting us to not hesitate or be lazy in pursuing our gifting, but rather pursue it with a passionate intensity in service to God.

I think we can learn three important lessons about calling and gifting from this verse:

First, your calling and gifting are unique. It is not the same as mine and it is not the same as your pastor’s. God has uniquely equipped you for service where you are right now. Your job is to pursue that gifting in service to the Lord.

Second, when you pursue your gifting, pursue it with unabashed passion. If God has given you a heart for the poor, find as many ways as you can to engage with the poor. If God has given you a passion for generosity, find creative and new ways to give and draw other people into that giving. If God has given you skill in preaching, preach.

Finally, if you are confused as to what your calling or gifting is, quit looking and spend time with God. Trying to figure out what God’s will is for your life, is a fool’s quest. You are either walking with Him or you aren’t. Oswald Chambers once said that the only time someone would ever search for a path in the woods is when they aren’t on it. This is the same with God’s will. If you are walking with God, reading His Word, and obeying it, then you are in God’s will. God’s will for your life is not some big mystery that you are to spend your life uncovering, it is simply that you know Him and follow Him. If you want to know what God’s will is, start obeying His Word. Exercise your gifting in this obedience and don’t try to be someone else.

We are all uniquely gifted by God for His service. Our job is to not be slothful (lazy, hesitant, shrinking) in exercising these gifts. When we aren’t slothful and are passionately intense in service to God, we get to experience the joy of walking with God. Let us not be slothful in our zeal in serving God!!

 

 

Friday Inspiration

“For God (The Greatest Lover) so loved (The Greatest Degree) the world (The Greatest Company) that He gave (The Greatest Act) His only Son (The Greatest Gift), that whoever (The Greatest Opportunity) believes (The Greatest Simplicity) in Him (The Greatest Attraction) should not perish (The Greatest Promise) but (The Greatest Difference) have (The Greatest Certainty) everlasting life (The Greatest Possession).”

Chuck Swindoll , Hilarious Generosity, A Needed Return to Joyful Generosity

Friday Inspiration

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17