Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Miracle of Discovering Your Ministry

God, What do you want me to do? How do I fit?

Are you like me?

Do you want to serve God but cannot figure out your ministry? Have you tried to do many things but it falls apart? Are do you offer to serve in areas and never get called? Do you feel overlooked and underused?

I have for most of my thirty years of my Christian walk. I know what I my talents are, and I even know my spiritual gifts. Still, I have a hard time discovering my specific ministry.

It has been frustrating and depressing. I know whose I am and I have studied His Word. God draws me in and points out so many truths. I feel bursting, overflowing.... yet, in many ways I feel rejected by people... and dare I say even the church.



I feel like serving in church is like being in a pinball machine. You step out to serve as the lever gets pulled back, the spring tightens and then in an instant you are launched into the activity. Only once you start moving you are constantly bumping into things and people. Some move you along quickly into another direction only to have you end up bumping into more things and people. However finally, you just become tired, exhausted, and fall away, leaving the building without even being noticed. Your turn is over. Your serving is done.


Is The Problem Me

"What’s wrong with me?” has been my mantra lately. I have even set up an appointment with my Pastor to ask that precise question! (It takes over a month to get in to see him.) I really have wanted to know if there is something about me that I need to change.



Am I too vocal? Is it that I get excited and interrupt? Is it that I ask a lot of questions? Is it that I think about things too seriously? Do people not trust me, or do they feel uncomfortable around me?

I am certain it is a glaring problem that everyone but me knows. It is like a have lighting bolts crashing around my head yet I am clueless that I am even in a thunderstorm.

However, I know it is God who qualifies a person and ordains them for ministry. Since God has accepted and approved me by His grace, I am worthy and able through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in me. Even with my imperfections, God wants to minister through me for His glory.

"By God's grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.” Ephesians 3:7 NLT

Discover by Doing

As long as I can remember I have had pastors tell their congregation that you discover your gifts through serving. They suggest that people should simply jump in and volunteer to find out what they are good at and enjoy. I do think it is good for people to serve and volunteer; particularly if you can’t think of anything specifically that you feel God leading you to do, you should just sign up and get involved in some area of the church. 



But if you have been praying and keep sensing a specific direction God wants you to go, look for opportunities. If you offer to work in those areas of ministry in the church, but never get called to do anything or don’t seem to fit in with the group or structure of the church ministry, don’t give up. 

Think outside of the church and/or ministry box. 

How can you still function in the way you sense God created you and is leading you? 

It may be that God simply wants you to step out on your own. He may not want you to formally serve in the church program and the way the church does the ministry. He may have some little spot that does not have a title, and it might be a ministry that is personal and therefore not sanctioned through the church. Just because it is not a ministry offered by your church, don’t discount it!

I am not encouraging people to not get involved in their local church or to serve in designated areas. I am simply stating that not all work that God wants done is an official position or area of church service. If we stop limiting God and simply live obediently to Him, we may be utterly amazed at how much God actual wants to do in and through each one of us. 

My Simple Miracle

I love prayer! I love writing! I love reading and teaching God’s Word! I love listening to the Holy Spirit and getting to immediately respond to Him! I love to be spontaneous!

I also have learned in my own life that it is very hard for me to make consistent, pre-planned obligations. Because of my health, I am not always able to be available at a set time. I can't really judge several weeks at a time how I will be doing. I have lived with how my mind and body functions long enough to know that it is best for me to be able to go when I can go and to slow down when I need to do this. Of course, this can hold me back from most normal ministry positions. 

However, I have returned to one of my favorite things that I do with God.

I started to go back to pray at my church in the morning. The prayer room is open from 6:30 am to 9. Anyone can come and go during this time. A year ago before I took a full-time teaching job I went very consistently for almost 6 months. I loved it! Going to the prayer room incorporated everything that I love in life. I felt so alive and so used by God. Especially when on occasion someone would enter the prayer room with an urgent need pressing on their heart. 



God would nudge me to ask the person if they needed to pray. And this is where the miracle would happen over and over again. I was able to be used by God to pray for people by relying on the Holy Spirit and to minister to them in their time of need. It blessed the other person but it also blessed me. 

So, here I was, about a year later, feeling like I was spiritually handicap and shriveling up. I was getting pretty depressed because I felt unusable by my local church. It was hard for me to even attend on the weekend because I didn’t feel like I belonged. I was yearning to serve God but never was responded to whenever I offered to serve in various areas of the church. Worse than feeling invisible, I felt discarded....unwanted....defected...damaged....and the list could go on forever. 

Yet, today was my second day in a week to go to morning prayer. After about an hour of praying and reading the Bible, I heard someone enter sniffling back tears. I waited a little bit and then got up and asked the person if he needed prayer. He did, and he was so grateful. The Holy Spirit gave me insight that could have only been known by God. I spoke the words as I heard them and described in prayer the pictures placed in my mind. As this young man, repeatedly confirmed that what I was saying in prayer was exactly what he needed, I sensed being used by God in a mighty way. 

After the man left, I knelt back down to pray... and I was led by God to write these words in my journal in response to what happened: 
I am alive. I have my place in God’s church and in ministry. It is perfect for me. Handpicked by God. Praise God who answers prayers!

You see, I repeatedly felt that I was suppose to pray at my church. So I tried the Monday night ministry, but something was off. I explored praying Sunday morning with people after service, yet that never worked out. I occasionally participated in special times of prayer but that only last an hour maybe once a year. I thought God wanted me to spot like a therapist, and He wanted me to simply be available to offer prayer. This thought kept coming up in my mind but it never seemed to materialize.

But God showed me today... He had already proved for me a way to do what He laid on my heart. No one needed to know I was functioning in this ministry. It was enough for it to be between God and me. He knew. He ordained it. He qualified me. And He would bring the people that needed to be personally prayed for by someone who listened to the Holy Spirit.

I am so joyful! I have finally discovered my ministry! I will listen, and follow, and go, wherever He leads.


(photo credit: deviantart: my watch begins by cobra-roll, blue skies green pasture by Blackstar 707, vintage gift box by lialeslie-d9w, dare by gothic narcissus-d7slhxyg) 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

What No One Ever Tells You About False Religions and False Teachers

We have so many different kinds of religions, faiths, beliefs, and even within each of the major faiths there are so many variations. In this post I am not talking about the major religions of the world; I am not talking about the ones that most would attend on a regular Sunday or Saturday. But, I am writing about false religions like Scientology and so many other smaller organizations like these are based off of very similar beliefs.



The major thing no one (especially the leader or organization itself) will never tell you is the leader often has a family background in the Christian faith. Many times their parents or grandparents were pastors or missionaries. Therefore, they frequently know the teachings of the Bible, and even use them, intermingling Biblical principles with their own but never quoting the Scripture or giving the source of the teaching. It is very crafty. Ask questions about leaders. Find out their spiritual background.

Biblical principles are truth. They work. Therefore if followed people can see blessings in their life. If you read through the Book of Proverbs and followed just the ones on finance you would greatly improve your wealth and business. The same holds true for relational principles.


Forgiveness

I listened to a teacher last week that was talking about how to deal with difficult people and those who have hurt you. He explained that you need to realize that the person is not functioning at the spiritual level you are and that he is doing the best they can based on their realization or knowledge. Therefore, you simply rise above and let the issues go, not holding it to them or the offense.

Immediately, I recognized the Biblical wisdom in forgiving the person and how important this is to not let bitterness grow in one’s heart. It is a very freeing teaching that without it can destroy a person from within. However, it played on the person’s pride. It made the person feel they were better than the other person, more evolved, or functioning at a higher spiritual level; therefore, he/she was to have in a sense pity on the person and to not be entangled in the lower level issues.

While the teaching did indeed help the person deal with the offense and to apply in many aspects apply the principle of forgiveness by not holding the person in debt to her for the hurt, it traded one sin for another. Pride is a much craftier sin to see. A person who has false modesty is actually prideful; if you think you are better than others you are prideful.

Reaping What You Sow

Another example of a teaching that is taught by many of these groups is Karma. So the person is so careful not to do wrong, treat people bad, or to say hurtful things because they don’t want to have bad things happen to them, and of course, they want to keep moving up to higher spiritual planes. The Bible teaches that a person reaps what they sow and also God often lets us experience things that we have done to others to give us insight to the other person’s perspective.

However, the major Christian difference is that we DON’T thankfully get what we deserve (the karma) if we confess, repent, and receive God’s grace. False religions will NEVER teach this concept; they would loose enormous amount of control over their followers. Guilt, condemnation, and karma are major ways they keep their followers in-line.

One True God

I was reading Isaiah today that caused me to think about these people who lead these cults or false religions. They are lifted up on a pedestal to often be exalted as god or master -- one who is at the highest possible spiritual level of development.

However, our creator God, Elohim, that is only the one true God has abilities that these leaders can never claim. Read this:

"Thus says God the LORD,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it; "(Is 42:5)
No matter how “good” a person can be, a person can’t claim to have made the earth and to give all people breath and spirit.

This is why God can say,

 "I am the LORD, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,” (Is 42:8)

The Word 

Only a person who reads and knows Scripture could pick out the Biblical concepts from the ones that are not. A person who has only read the Bible casually or heard some passages will have no idea that he is being taught a Biblical teaching. And very sadly they will not know the lies that are being sprinkled in to benefit the leader or organizations. 

One day I want to take a passage of one of these cults and show in detail how truths or mixed with lies; However, what I have currently written will have to do for today. 

If you have a loved one involved in a cult, pray for them. I pray for those I know. I pray that the leader may show their sinfulness, that it will be obvious that he is a mere man, not God. I also pray that those I love will hear the ONE TRUE GOD in quiet times, and that He will have mercy on them and keep drawing each one near to Him.

photo credit: candlelight by svelimiovic96,