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Tag: Gifts

God’s Perfect Plan

by Rob Dunne

Image by CJ
Flicker.com_33080776472_85fb27c052 CC BY-ND 2.0

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

My wife recently lost her grandmother, aka Mimi. Mimi lived to be ninety-seven. Prior to her passing, the nursing home workers told us how much they loved her and the joy she brought to their lives. At the funeral home people paying their respects frequently commented on how happy she looked in all of the photographs celebrating her life.

Death is one of those events that makes you stop and think about your own life. You realize how short life is, and for me, I question whether I am using my limited time wisely, wonder whether or not I am living up to my God given potential. Does God have a plan for my life and if so, am I fulfilling that specific plan?

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Let It Rain!

by Rob Dunne

Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month. Joel 2:23

When I moved to New York City, I got rid of my car. It was too expensive to keep and public transportation is easily accessible. When my new boss told me that we had a court appearance out on Staten Island, I said to myself, “No problem. I will take the ferry and catch a bus to the courthouse. Piece of cake!” Then the rain came.

Normally, the ferry was a smooth ride. After all, we were only crossing New York Harbor. That day, the storm was rocking the boat back and forth like an exhausted mother desperate to get her crying child back to sleep. Thankfully, I am not one to get sea sick so it was no problem. Once we reached the shore, I quickly hopped on a bus and headed to court.

Genuine concern arose as the bus wound its way across the island. Streams of water were running down the street. Reaching the bottom of one hill, I saw numerous cars submerged under water. My body pulsed as though an unseen drummer was beating on my heart with all his might. When I finally arrived at the courthouse, I was told that they were closing due to the weather. It would have been nice to learn that before I got began this trek!

Rain can be our friend or our enemy. It is essential for vegetation to grow. Without it, our water supply would dry up. In Palestine where Jesus grew up, there were two cycles of rain- the former rain and the latter rain. The former rain would start as the farmers planted their crops. The latter rain came just prior to the harvest and helped plump up the wheat. Both rainy seasons were vital to the success of the crops.

God always has been and always will be the source of our provision. He is the one who provides the rain that waters the crops that ultimately give us food. I have a tendency to take credit for any success that I have in life. Upon reflection, I realize that God is the one who gave me the gifts, talents and abilities that I have in order to perform my job. He is the One who uniquely crafted me with a love for words and putting them together on a page in a way that makes people enjoy reading them (at least I hope they do!)

It is critically important that we acknowledge God as our source and provider. He alone deserves all of the credit for anything good that we have in our lives. After all, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

He is incredibly faithful and trustworthy. God is rock solid and He never changes. Thank Him today for meeting all of your needs.

Rain's Acomin' by Don Graham flickr-com_13111699453_fa33a3bb31_z.jpg

Rain’s Acomin’ by Don Graham flickr-com_13111699453_fa33a3bb31_z.jpg_CC BY-ND 4.0

 

The Dark Side of Gift Giving

by Mike McKinniss

Image thanks to DIY Krafty Kids

Image thanks to DIY Krafty Kids

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you (Colossians 1:3, HCSB).

Every kid loves Christmas and birthdays. And why not? Twice a year (unless your birthday lands, as my niece’s does, on December 25) you get to relish in the best of all possible worlds.

In my own family, Christmas was always spent with the closest family. Birthdays were enjoyed with your best friends.

Both occasions warranted the best culinary fare. Few things compare to the roasted turkey at Christmas (though I’m eager to try goose). Tradition held that the birthday boy selects his own dinner. I oscillated between barbecue chicken (I’m a June baby) and chicken parmesian. And don’t forget the Christmas cookies or the birthday cake.

But who are we kidding? The best part about Christmas and birthdays, at least as a kid, was receiving presents. And hopefully lots of them. I would make myself sick in the run up to Christmas each year, deciding which toys I wanted and imagining what I might do if I had them. It was pure torture knowing precisely where the presents would be hidden pre-wrap and attempting to circumvent the temptation to peer under my parents’ bed. Who doesn’t love a good present?

Nobody, that’s who. Until, that is, the ten-year-old child is reminded, on December 26th, that he must remember to thank his grandparents and his aunt and uncle, who were so thoughtful to send a gift from Ohio.

To my childhood self, this was the dark side to Christmas, the catch. The anticipation and lure of presents blinded me to the horrors of showing gratitude. Oh how I dreaded the thank you note and the 15 minutes it would take to write them! Fifteen minutes that could have been spent enjoying the toys!

It’s only taken a couple decades, but more recently, I’ve actually been looking forward to writing to say “Thank you.” Indeed, I even find myself being thankful for some of the most unusual things. Chief among these is a growing gratitude for others’ good fortune.

The circumstance may have little to do with me, but I’m discovering that I’m increasingly joyful when others experience a breakthrough in their hopes and dreams. I’m excited when someone else receive a long awaited promise from the Lord. In particular, I’m especially happy when someone else gets what I’ve been waiting for myself.

Several years ago, I was waiting to see the fulfillment of a certain promise I believed God had given to me for my own life. It was precious to me. But I wasn’t seeing it. I had been waiting for years and hadn’t seen a glimpse yet. And then a close friend of mine, who was walking a similar path to my own, received exactly what I had been waiting and praying for. His came in months; I’d been waiting years.

If I’m completely honest, I was surprised at how grateful I was for his success. And I’ll admit I was tempted to become bitter or despondent. But I genuinely wanted to thank God for the experience my buddy was having. I knew what it meant for him and I knew what it would mean to me. I loved being thankful for him.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I still love getting things for myself. I still eagerly anticipate my birthday and Christmas. But I’m growing more eager to write those thank you notes too. And I’m grateful for that.

Your Gift is Not Yours

by mandyade

I recently heard about a young soldier who had been badly wounded and was recovering in hospital. The soldier and his family were reeling from pain and loss but in all of it they were so comforted by the amazing nurses and doctors who were caring for them.

God gives a special gift to those in the medical profession. They are gifted so that they can release comfort and healing to multitudes of people. God has not gifted them for themselves but in his mercy for the people. The nurse is not given the gift of nursing to serve herself, but to serve many. That is an easy concept to understand but it works in every realm of gifting.

When we think of a person as being gifted we often think-‘how blessed they are’ when really the response should be ‘how blessed we are’ because the gift given is actually given to us by God through a human conduit. When God gives a gift to the world He uses a person to administer the gift.

When God gives us a gift, no matter what it is, it is given so that we can release it to others. Obviously the ‘trustee’ is also blessed – it is wonderful to sense the Glory of God flowing through, but the gift is given to the multitudes through the ‘trustee’.

We are all ‘trustees’, given gifts to administer in different ways to people. Sometimes we shut up our gifts for various reasons; we choose to keep these gifts in a safe place reasoning that it is our gift given to us and for us. In reality our gift is not for us to hold onto or hide away, it’s ours to release to many others – it doesn’t matter how imperfect it is or how inadequate we may feel, we must release what God has put inside us as it is His gift to the world.

God uses imperfect people to release His Kingdom to the earth and He has entrusted you and I to do this!

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