Offering It Back to God

You asked for something from God. And He gave it to you.

Or He gave you something to do for Him.

You are thankful.

You love it.

You want to enjoy it.

You want to play with it.

And He wants you to.

But what if…

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What if you asked Him to use it for His glory?

What could God do with it?

Is it possible that not only would you get to enjoy it, but so would a multitude of other people?

And that God’s amazing goodness would be seen by many?

The boy with the bread and fish found out the day he offered God’s provision back to Him.

And so could you.

If you dared.

So the question comes down to…

When God gives you something, what will YOU do with it?

Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

She was worried.

Again.

Even after being assured that Jesus was taking care of her as a husband cares for his wife.

She believed Him.

But she couldn’t see how He would take care of all the many things that needed to be taken care of.

And she couldn’t figure out what her part was.

So she worried.

What was she supposed to do to make sure her roofing contractor did a better job than all the horror stories she kept hearing from people in town who’s contractors did bad or incomplete work?

What was she supposed to do to make sure mold wasn’t secretly growing in her house? She had already asked several companies to check and had gotten answers from totally mold infested to no mold at all.

What was she supposed to do if her car’s extended warranty company wouldn’t cover the transmission her dealership said it needed?

What was she supposed to do if there wasn’t enough money in savings for all the house and yard repairs that insurance wasn’t covering?

What was she supposed to do about her son?

How was she supposed to get everything that needed to get done finished when there wasn’t enough time to do it all? Who was she supposed to disappoint?

“God,” she prayed one day as she took a walk. “I know You said You were taking care of me. I just don’t understand how. Someone has to make phone calls and set up appointments and budget spending. How do I not stress about all this when I’m the one who has to do it? How does this “You taking care of me” work? I’m so tired. I’m ready to give up. But then nothing would get done and I’d feel even worse living in my house in the condition that it’s in…” she trailed off as weariness and depression filled her.

But then something caught her attention. Something white in an area where white didn’t belong. She stopped to take another look. Yes, there was definitely something white on that tree. She went over to investigate and found that someone had wedged a painted rock in a knot hole. She couldn’t believe it. She had looked for painted rocks for a year without finding one. And now, without looking, she had found one. And not just any painted rock. She had found a rock painted with a message straight from God.

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Her heart raced as she took His gift and hugged it to her chest. God was listening. And God understood her worries. Yet, He was gently reminding her that she didn’t need to worry because He was in control and working out everything for her – even down to getting someone to paint that rock and have it hidden in time for her to find it at that exact moment.

“Thank You,” she told Him, her heart swelling with gratefulness. “You give the most amazing gifts!”

Let the Comforter Comfort

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She sighed with satisfaction as she put down her scissors. Finished! It had taken awhile but the hand quilted comforter was finally finished. And just in time for her friend’s birthday. She imagined how cozy her friend would feel cuddled up in the large softly padded blanket. She didn’t usually make such an elaborate gift for birthdays, but this friend was special, as was this birthday.

She lovingly folded the comforter and tied it with a pretty red ribbon, then placed it carefully in a large gift bag. She couldn’t wait to see her friend’s face when she gave it to her in a few days.

She spent the next few days packing for her move out of state. Each time she passed the bag, sitting on the small table near the front door, new images formed in her mind…

…her friend, sitting on the couch, reading a good book and wrapped in the warmth of the comforter.

…her friend, sleeping peacefully on her bed under the cozy weight of the comforter.

…her friend, sitting in her bathtub seeking safety from a storm and surrounded by the softness of the comforter.

When the day came, she handed the bag to her friend with a huge smile, eager to watch her friend’s surprise and delight.

She wasn’t disappointed.

“Oh, wow! This is amazing!” her friend said, holding it up and admiring it. “I can’t believe you made this for me. It must have taken you forever!”

“It did take a while,” she answered. “But it’s well worth it. I wanted to give you something to treasure to remind you how much I treasure you and our friendship.”

“Aww… thank you. I feel the same way and I will treasure this comforter my whole life.”

Six months later, settled in her new home, she began missing her friend and decided to make a visit. Upon entering her friend’s house, she saw the comforter she had made. It wasn’t on the couch where it could be easily grabbed and used. It wasn’t on the bed waiting to provide warmth in the cool evenings. It was displayed on the wall!

“I love the comforter so much that I didn’t want it to get dirty or damaged so I put it on the wall. It looks great up there, doesn’t it!” her friend told her.

Hiding her disappointment, she smiled and agreed – it did look good up there. But it wasn’t made to be displayed on a wall. It was made to be used! To part of her friend’s everyday life. What good was it up there? How could it provide warmth and comfort from up there? But she knew it wasn’t her right to force her friend to use it the way she had purposed it. It belonged to her friend now and it was her friend’s right to choose what to  do with it.

On the way home, she sought the comfort of her Friend… and made a startling connection.

“Lord,” she prayed. “Thank you for Your gift of the Holy Spirit to be my comforter. Help me to allow Him to be part of my everyday life, to seek Him to comfort me when I’m scared and to warm me when I’m cold. May I never keep Him at a distance, knowing He’s there but not allowing Him to serve the purpose for which You gave Him to me.”

And she drove the rest of the way home wrapped in the cozy embrace of her Comforter.

I’m an Ear

She thought about what she had just heard. That some people have a gift for listening to others.

Was listening a gift? Isn’t that something anyone could do? That everyone should do?

Evidently not. Some people seem to be gifted the opposite way – they could talk about anything at anytime with anybody. In fact, she had noticed, they were so busy talking, they barely heard what anyone else said. If they even gave them time to get a word in. And they seemed intent on making their thoughts known regardless if anyone was actually listening or not.

She was not like that.

For some reason people thought she had this gift of listening.

“OK, Lord,” she prayed. “If listening is a gift, and if You’ve given it to me, I ask that You send me people who need someone to listen to them. I’m willing to be Your ear.”

So He did.

For the next three days, people came to her house and ended up talking at length to her. She listened to their problems, concerns, doubts, and fears. And they each left saying, “I don’t know why I told you all this. I didn’t mean to.”

But she did. God was answering her prayer.

“Am I really going to be an ear for Jesus?” she wondered excitedly. She thought of all the people who needed someone to just listen to them. She thought of the comfort and strength listening might bring them. Yes, this truly is a gift the body of Christ needs.  “Wow,” she thought. “I’m an ear for Jesus! What an amazing ministry this will be!”

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