What’s Your Special Skill?

The community of faith relies upon the giftedness and servanthood of its members and regular attendees of the church. I think everybody ought to officially join the church because we all know that “membership has its privileges” and it is a privilege to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I like what Moses writes in Exodus… God says:

“And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make:” (Exodus 31:6)

Did you catch that? First notice who gave the skill. God tells Moses, “I have given…”The skills and abilities that we possess are God-given and they need to be used for his glory. We also need to stay humble because GOD is the one who gave us any skills at all.

In this same phrase, notice the past tense, (or in Hebrew) the completed action of when God gave the skill. The phrase, HAVE GIVEN tells me that the skill is already there, we must simply exercise it and turn it loose. How will we know if we are good at something unless we attempt new things and develop the skills within us?

Next, notice that God had given a special skill to ALL the gifted craftsmen. How many times do we feel like God gives skills and abilities to only a few people. Search for the skill that he has given you, develop it and use it for his glory.

Then notice that God PERSONALLY appointed Oholiab, which tells me that God CALLS people to come out of their normal routine in order to join him in his work in the this world. You possess a skill that only you can use to further the Kingdom of God. God has a plan and he wants you to walk in obedience, and he personally calls all of us to join him. God help us to listen.

Additionally, notice that God is talking to MOSES about the skills of Oholiab. I have to wonder it God already spoke to Oholiab or is Moses the first to hear about this and will go to Oholiab to enlist him in God’s service. Perhaps God will open the eyes of some skilled people by using OTHERS to enlist them into service. Who is around you in whom YOU notice their skills and how those skills can be used for the Lord?

Also notice that God commanded MOSES to make the sacred things for worship, so the leader NEEDED skilled people to make it happen. Who around us has the skills we need to accomplish great things for God?

Finally, notice that he gives skills to people for a PURPOSE, “so they can make…” The skills he has given are to be used for the building up of HIS kingdom, because all else will fade away (Isaiah 40:8).

Do you ever get down on yourself and think you don’t have any skills to offer? It’s not true, God has given you many skills. Thinking you don’t have any skills is not humility, instead, you fail to correctly see the blessings given to you by God. We even devalue our skills when we compare ourselves to others and wish we had THEIR skills. Those thoughts are not complimentary towards God either. God has given skills to everyone and by embracing them we can truly use our skills to worship God. Take a moment to correctly identify your skills and embrace them to honor God.

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Are We True Ministers?

This is a devotion that comes from 2 Corinthians 6:3-13

The PriorityWe live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry.

Evaluate your life and behavior and see if this is true for you. Do you live in such a way that people will not stumble because of what they see? While no one is perfect, we are expected to strive toward a lifestyle that is honoring to God.

The Pain –  In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.

The point here is that Paul demonstrated that he was an authentic follower of Jesus, he was a true minister of God. He then gives a few examples of his behavior: enduring troubles, hardship and calamity (beatings, prison, angry mobs) and faithfully worked through all of the stresses of his radical obedience to Christ (exhaustion, insomnia, starvation).

The Patience –  We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.

Paul again was simply a man of words, but he proved the kind of person and minister he was (purity, understanding, patience, kindness). He was not able to do it in his own strength, but by the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of sincere love. He preached the truth in season and out of season, in good times and hard times. He was a faith soldier in God’s service: he could attack the forces of darkness on one side and defend against our common enemy on the other.

The Paradox –  We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

Much of the Christian life is a paradox: to save your life, you must lose it; to be first, you must be last; to be great, you must serve others. Paul is listing several lesser known seemingly contradictory statements.

The Parent11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!

Paul speaks to the people as a loving parent: kindness, openness, in love even when love has been denied. This passage screams the desire of a parent over a wayward child.

Here’s My Take-Away: We know that hard times will come. The light that we shine to others reveals our faith in God. Our faith can persist even in the face of hardship. It is a demonstration of faith to trust that the Lord is good. When bad things happen, the last thing we want is to be patient. We want to hurry up and move past our troubles. This is the time that God has been preparing us for, and we have the opportunity to grow closer to God. If you are in trouble or in the middle of calamity, muster your patience one day at a time. Live a life of integrity no matter what comes your way!

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We All Need Encouragement

High achievers like Pat Summitt, the Lady Volunteer’s Basketball Coach, demand the best from themselves and others. You might think that her high standards and demanding ways are the reason her teams have won three national titles over the past four years, but you’d only be partially right.

After a dry spell in the mid 90’s, Summitt popped a cork on the long ride home from a game the team should have won. Summitt chewed on one of her seniors so hard that it devastated the athlete. After a sleepless night, Michelle Marciniak, the player, called her coach at six in the morning saying she needed more than to be told when she makes mistakes, she needs some encouragement too.

That early morning phone call served as a “wake-up call” for Summitt in more ways than one. Slowly, she’s changed her ways to avoid breaking a player’s spirit. Her new combination of high standards and an encouraging spirit is taking the Lady Volunteers to a new level.

Criticism has its place, but it always takes second place to encouragement.

” …not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

—Reader’s Digest, Feb. 2000 p. 56

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Devotional Study Form

In order to get the most out of personal Bible study, try using a form like this one:Devotional Study Form

This form comes from Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods, chapter 1, pp.33-47.

Reading the above is like a flashback from the old Masterlife days; very similar…

  1. Perimeter the Verse – what is before or after the verse.
  2. Paraphrase the Verse – into your own words.
  3. Pulverize the Verse – emphasize each word by exclamation.
  4. Personalize the Verse – what is the significance to you?
  5. Pray the Verse Back to God – lift his own Word to him.
  6. Parallel Verses – other passages on a similar theme.
  7. Problems in the Verse – what needs resolution in your mind and heart?
  8. Possibilities of Helping Others in the Verse – actions to consider.
  9. Protracted Study – other notes, ideas, outlines, etc.

[ Masterlife I, Guide to Meditation, pp.195-196, Waylon Moore]

Teach Me Your Will

There is a lot of talk about seeking God’s will in our lives. Here is an interesting verse that challenges us to go deeper in that search, actually to ask God to teach us to do his will.

Teach me to do your will for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. (Psalm 143:10)

Have you ever wondered what is God’s will in your life? Don’t you wish He would just send it in the mail to eliminate any confusion?

It’s worth pointing out that David didn’t ask the same thing. Instead, he asks for God to teach him to do His will. Imagine if you learned to do God’s will how the uncertainty would be eliminated.

Let’s allow the Spirit to lead us on solid ground by asking God to teach us.

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