What A Joy!

What a joy it is to wake up each day and see what the new day brings. Each day I wake up is a reminder to thank God for the opportunities that lie ahead, and thank God for His presence with us. This is truly a great gift.

What are some of the gifts you have been given? What would you say is your best gift? I asked these questions to some teenagers recently and I was actually surprised by their answers. They started off by saying things like forgiveness, love, family, friends, talents, humor, etc. Just when we think we have teenagers figured out, they go and say what they really value.

We all have special gifts we have been given by God and it is good for us to use them to work with God to help people live into the Kingdom of God here on earth. These gifts can probably be viewed as several things, but my encouragement for you and I today is to see how we can help people see and experience the Kingdom of God here and now and live into life. So, what gifts do you have that can be utilized for this?

I love this passage from the book of Romans. We’ll look into it for the next few days; but this is a glimpse of how we can begin to live our lives today. We get to work with God and the gifts given to us today. What a JOY!

Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful. ~Romans 12:3-8

Joined Together

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Galatians 3:6-9 Understand that in the same way that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness, those who believe are the children of Abraham. But when it saw ahead of time that God would make the Gentiles righteous on the basis of faith, scripture preached the gospel in advance to Abraham: All the Gentiles will be blessed in you. Therefore, those who believe are blessed together with Abraham who believed.

We are all in search of belonging. Many people look to find fulfillment in passing fads. Others with people who really don’t care about them or make them feel worthless. Still others search for meaning and escape through different methods.

Where do you find your meaning and place of belonging? There have been times where I was searching for where I belonged and I made my identity wrapped up in my job. This is dangerous too, because we are always more than what we do. We are made in the image of God. This is where identity begins.

Look at the people who are surrounded by a community who supports, encourages and builds up. Who is actually more fulfilled? The person who attempts to find themselves in what they do, substances, people who make them feel no value? Or is it the person who is surrounded by a support structure to guide and encourage them through life’s journey?

The answer may seem obvious. (I hope.) This is what we find when we join in the Christian faith. Yes there are people who have been the wrong image and have done acts in the name of God that actually destroyed countless lives; but there are so many others who have professed faith in Christ that are good models and encouragers to help us live the life God calls us to live.

Think about this for a minute. When we profess faith in Christ, we actually are connected with people in the faith as far back as Abraham and Noah. This means that we can read their stories and we are reading about our family. We can see how they failed and how they succeeded. Yet through their failures, God was always with them. This gives me great joy because God is with me, and God is with you, especially when we fail and fall short of the glory of God.

We are children of God and this makes us part of the “blessings” that God promised Abraham. All it takes is childlike faith and trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (we’ll see this tomorrow).

Believing in Christ does bring incredible blessings; but be careful how blessings are thought of. We can lose everything in our life, yet still be the most blessed people because we have Jesus Christ with us and the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

Are you searching for belonging? Faith ties us together with the people of faith before us. Follow their life and notice how God still worked through their life. He is working in your life too!

Praise be to God for this awesome community we belong to. We are free to know that we do not have to live this life alone.

#LiveFreeInChrist