Chase Your Gift

I don’t have to look far or search long for someone who identifies sorely with the memory of feeling overlooked. Some describe the experience as hurtful and disrespectful. There certainly isn’t glory in the actualization of being ignored. That moment when you realize, in the grand scheme of things, you don’t matter to someone. Yet, our human desire to be seen and to keep up with someone else’s convoluted practice of self-glorification as the prescription to wellness in these uncertain times, oozes like an open wound that never heals and is sensitive to touch – sensitive to the touch and move of our Creator in our lives. Man says make up the rules as you go along, indulge in manipulation, hate your neighbor. God says have no other gods before Him, do good, and love your neighbor as yourself. God also advises us to resist self-glorification and to chase after the gift(s) He created within us while we were in the womb. “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:1).”

Chasing our precious gift(s) from God keeps us under His protection and guidance. We become in-sync with the one who created us and bound to the one who is actively forming us in fascinating ways to His likeness. Our importance to someone else becomes minute and does not compare to how God sees us. God says we matter in all of our transforming moments. The glory of those experiences belong to God. Take none for yourself but give all the glory to God, our Creator. “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being (Revelation 4:11).”

Defy man and walk down the road less traveled, giving God the glory. Be well. Live well.

“Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. If you have the gift of speaking, preach God’s message. If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God supplies. Everything should be done in a way that will bring honor to God because of Jesus Christ, who is glorious and powerful forever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Live Out Loud! – Speak a Word!

I pray you are well and you are enjoying your new season. Speak words of life while living out loud in your new season. Be encouraged by Ezekiel 37:1-14 (Contemporary English Version),

Some time later, I felt the Lord’s power take control of me, and his Spirit carried me to a valley full of bones. The Lord showed me all around, and everywhere I looked I saw bones that were dried out. He said, “Ezekiel, son of man, can these bones come back to life?”

I replied, “Lord God, only you can answer that.”

He then told me to say:

Dry bones, listen to what the Lord is saying to you, “I, the Lord God, will put breath in you, and once again you will live. I will wrap you with muscles and skin and breathe life into you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

I did what the Lord said, but before I finished speaking, I heard a rattling noise. The bones were coming together! I saw muscles and skin cover the bones, but they had no life in them.

The Lord said:

Ezekiel, now say to the wind,[a] “The Lord God commands you to blow from every direction and to breathe life into these dead bodies, so they can live again.”

As soon as I said this, the wind blew among the bodies, and they came back to life! They all stood up, and there were enough to make a large army.

The Lord said:

Ezekiel, the people of Israel are like dead bones. They complain that they are dried up and that they have no hope for the future. So tell them, “I, the Lord God, promise to open your graves and set you free. I will bring you back to Israel, and when that happens, you will realize that I am the Lord. My Spirit will give you breath, and you will live again. I will bring you home, and you will know that I have kept my promise. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Live Out Loud! – Learn How to Fight!

I pray you are well and you are embracing your new season. Live out loud the truth found in Ephesians 6:10-18 (The Message Bible): “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

Live Out Loud! – Secure the Bag

Welcome to your new season! Live out loud the truth found in Isaiah 40:28-31, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The Blessing

Today I was the guest reader for young scholars attending Covenant United Methodist Church’s Freedom School in Springfield, Ohio. I read the book Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed. The book celebrates the perseverance and imagination of the first African American woman astronaut, Mae Jemison, as a young girl. I love the book and the experience it provided while reading it to a room of young people. In fact, I realized about halfway through the reading, I was being blessed by the simple yet powerful arrangement of words in the book. A moment structured to bless someone else, in turn, was blessing me in ways I did not expect.

The blessing was sudden and sweet. The blessing was also amplified by the expression of my own voice. By reading the words aloud, I allowed the power of words to fall fresh on me as a recipient of God’s incredible grace that showed up right on time. The words of the book that produced such might were the reminder, “If you can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible.”

Certainly, these words are appropriate for young people exploring the possibilities of who they want to be when they grow up. However, I’m learning that the encouragement to dream, believe, and work hard for the purpose God has implanted in us, no matter our age, is also appropriate. We’re not robots. We’re flesh and blood, wonderfully made in the image of God, designed to feel Him moving within us throughout our season changes. I was gracefully reminded today that God is ready to deliver what I once thought in my spiritual infancy was impossible. My dreaming, continuous belief that God is who He says He is, and my all-in work ethic to give Him glory in everything, was not practiced in vain. I’m now living in a new season where I know anything is possible. God is making it so, and He provided a safe space and an opportunity for me to profess the blessing for myself.

Have you recognized that you are experiencing a shift in your life? A change where things, as they are, no longer fit with the ‘good trouble’ God is instigating within you. A shift where being in the company of antagonists is offensive to the new thing God has revealed within you. A change where you are now willing to fully participate in the healing God is presenting before you.

I encourage you to embrace the gift of the new season God is gracing on your journey. He’s traveling to the guarded space within you to deliver the reminder, “If you can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible.” Speak your blessing. Receive your blessing. God is making the impossible so.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;” – Numbers 6:24-25