Saturday, November 19, 2005

Day 35 - God's Power In Your Weakness

God loves to use weak people!

I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.
2 Corinthians 12:9a (LB)

A weakness is any limitation that you inherited or have no power to change. Everyone has weaknesses. In fact, you have a bundle of flaws and imperfections: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Usually we:
  • Deny our weaknesses
  • Defend them
  • Excuse them
  • Hide them
  • Resent them

This prevents God from using them the way he desires.

When you think of the limitation in your life, you may be tempted to conclude, “God could never use me.” But God is never limited by our limitations. Sometimes, however, God turns strength into a weakness in order to use us even more.

Jacob was a manipulator who spent his life scheming and then running from the consequences. One night he wrestled with God and said, “I’m not letting go until you bless me.” God said, “All right,” but then he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and dislocated his hip.

What is the significance of that? God touched Jacob’s strength and turned it into a weakness. From that day forward, Jacob walked with a limp so he could never run away again. It forced him to lean on God whether he liked it or not.

If you want God to bless you and use you greatly, you must be willing to walk with a limp the rest of your life, because God uses weak people.

In Christ Alone!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Day 34 - Thinking Like A Servant

Service starts in your mind!

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)

Real servants serve God with a mindset of five attitudes:
- Servants think more about others than about themselves.
- Servants think like stewards, not owners.
- Servants think about their work, not what others are doing.
- Servants base their identity in Christ.
- And servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

Henri Nouwen said, “In order to be of service to others, we have to die to them; that is, we have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others … thus we become free to be compassionate.”

When you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are freed from the expectations of others, and that allows you to really serve them best.

Imagine what could happen if just 10 percent of all Christians in the world got serious about their role as real servants. Imagine all the good that could be done. Are you willing to be one of those people?

In Christ Alone!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Day 33 - How Real Servants Act

We serve God by serving others!

You can tell what they are by what they do.” Matthew 7:16 (CEV)

In our self-serving culture with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept. Jesus, however, measured greatness in terms of service, not status. God determines your greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you. Yet, it is possible to serve in church for a lifetime without ever being a servant. You must have a servant’s heart.

Notoriety means nothing to real servants because they know the difference between prominence and significance. In heaven God is going to openly reward some of his most obscure and unknown servants—people we never heard of on earth, who taught emotionally disturbed children, cleaned up after incontinent elderly, nursed AIDS patients, and served in thousands of other unnoticed ways.

Knowing this, don’t be discouraged when your service is unnoticed or taken for granted. Keep on serving God! “Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” I Corinthians 15:58 (Msg)

Even the smallest service is noticed by God and will be rewarded. Remember the words of Jesus: “If, as my representatives, you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded.” Matthew 10:42 (LB)

Get real!

In Christ Alone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Day 32 - Using What God Gave You

God deserves your best!

Since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be.” Romans 12:5 (MSG)

He shaped you for a purpose, and he expects you to make the most of what you have been given. Don’t let another day go by. Start finding out and clarifying what God intends for you to be and do.

Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities. The best way to discover your gifts and abilities is to experiment with different areas of service. Until you’re actually involved in serving, you’re not going to know what you’re good at.

Consider your heart and your personality. This is simple - Paul advised, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.” Galatians 6:4b (Msg)

Examine your experiences and extract the lessons you have learned. Review your life and think about how it has shaped you. Moses told the Israelites, “Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him.” Deuteronomy 11:2 (TEV)

Forgotten experiences are worthless; that’s a good reason to keep a spiritual journal. In heaven we are going to serve God forever. Right now, we can prepare for that eternal service by practicing on earth. Like athletes preparing for the Olympics, we keep training for that big day: “They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.” 1 Corinthians 9:25 (Msg)

In Christ Alone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Day 31 - Understanding Your Shape

Only you can be you!

You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (Msg)

God designed each of us so there would be no duplication in the world. No one has the exact same mix of factors that make you unique. That means no one else on earth will ever be able to play the role God planned for you. If you don’t make your unique contribution to the Body of Christ, it won’t be made. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts … different ways of serving … and different abilities to perform service.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (TEV)

Your abilities are the natural talents you were born with. One of the most common excuses people give for not serving is “I just don’t have any abilities to offer.” This is ludicrous. You have dozens, probably hundreds, of untapped, unrecognized, and unused abilities that are lying dormant inside you.

Like stained glass, our different personalities reflect God’s light in many colors and patterns. This blesses the family of God with depth and variety. It also blesses us personally. When you minister in a manner consistent with the personality God gave you, you experience fulfillment, satisfaction, and fruitfulness.

You will be most effective when you use your spiritual gifts and abilities in the area of your heart’s desire, and in a way that best expresses your personality and experiences. The better the fit, the more successful you will be.

In Christ Alone!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Day 30 - Shaped For Serving God

You were shaped to serve God!

Your hands shaped me and made me.” Job 10:8 (NIV)

Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry. Not only did God shape you before your birth, he planned every day of your life to support his shaping process. God uses all of it to mold you for your ministry to others and shape you for your service to him. “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

God’s custom combination of capabilities is called your SHAPE:

Spiritual Gifts
Heart
Abilities
Personality
Experience

Spiritual gifts are special God-empowered abilities for serving him that are given only to believers. Have you taken time to discover your gifts? An unopened gift is worthless.
Another word for heart is passion. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others.

Figure our what you love to do – what God gave you a heart to do – and then do it for his glory.

In Christ Alone!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Day 29 - Accepting Your Assignment

You were put on earth to make a contribution!

It is God himself who made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” Ephesians 2:10 (LB)

You were created to serve God.God has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10b (TEV) These “good deeds” are your service to the world. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God and fulfilling one of your purposes.

You were saved to serve God. Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just immediately take us to heaven the moment we accept his grace? Once you are saved, God intends to use you for his goals. God has a ministry for you in his church and a mission for you in the world.

You are called to serve God. The Bible says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT) Each of us has a role to play, and every role is important.

You are commanded to serve God. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking,

“Who’s going to meet my needs?” and starts asking, “Whose needs can I meet?”

Do you ever ask that question? One day God will compare how much time and energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others.

In Christ Alone!