Month: June 2018

  • Stewards of God’s Grace

    “Be a good steward of what you have” is a phrase I often heard growing up in church or at home with my family. At a young age, I could gather that the phrase meant to take care of my stuff, but honestly, I have never really studied much about stewards or stewarding beyond that basic understanding.  Even the word steward is sort of an old-fashioned sounding word that isn’t used much in conversation today.

    In the Bible, stewards were the trusted managers of a household, palace or large estate. Royal stewards were second only to the king and likely had control over the king’s treasury, the royal estate and some military assets. They were also representatives of the king, carrying out his work on his behalf until he returned.

    One of the mysteries of God’s grace is that we are entrusted with just such a task. We find a beautiful passage in 1 Peter 4:8-11 with some instructions about how to live and love as stewards, while we wait for Christ, our King, to return.  

    “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:8-11 (NIV)

    “Faithful stewards of God’s grace…” I LOVE this! This is so much more than just “taking care of stuff!” This is Kingdom business! When we use the gifts we have received, we become faithful stewards of nothing less than the grace God has given us. These gifts do not belong to us for our sole benefit. We are stewards, using them to edify and strengthen the Kingdom of God and community of believers. We faithfully manage the gifts and talents the King has entrusted to us, until he returns.

    We all have things we are good at, that we are happy to do, or God-given characteristics in our personalities. Some qualities we’ve always had, others God has cultivated in us over years of life experience. Whether we speak, love, or serve, we are called to be stewards of nothing less than God’s grace, given to us, for His service and glory.

    If you are wondering what your gifts might be, try this. Write down a favorite Bible verse or two along with some of the things that you enjoy and are good at in life, in family, at church, in ministry, or at work. These should be things that are life-giving–you could do them all day and still come back for more. Take stock of your personality and the character qualities that could be a blessing to others and point them toward Jesus. Then ask yourself, “Will it bless others and reflect God’s light and love to the world around me?” Share with a friend or in the comments! Gifts are meant for community and the best way to cultivate them is through prayer, worship, and Bible study in community!

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  • Fighting Through Fear

    I went through my first haunted house when I was 8 years old. My family had gone to the Enchanted Forest and it took some convincing, but I promised my parents that I would be just fine and that I would definitely not have nightmares.  

    My dad and I stepped through the creaky old facade and into a single, dimly lit room. Darkness closed in around us as the doors swung shut with a boom that I could feel all the way down to my Keds. The room was completely empty, except for a 10-foot statue hung on the wall directly ahead of me like a 3-D portrait. It was a sinister imp-like creature with horns and glowing red eyes. I stood glued to my spot, absolutely petrified. My legs no longer seemed to work and my voice left me. All I could do was stand there wide-eyed, searching for a way out. My dad had gone ahead, thinking I was still in step with him, but in the darkness, I had lost sight of him.

    I began to cry and I could hear my dad’s voice calling out, “This way. You have to come this way.” I couldn’t see him, but I squinted in the direction of his voice. As my eyes adjusted, I could see a narrow hallway leading out to the next room. The problem was that in order to get away from this terrifying picture, I had to walk directly toward the thing that had me paralyzed in fear, and then to face unknown terrors that surely lay ahead.

    It felt like a full fifteen minutes before I could convince my feet to move, but finally I managed to side-step along the wall until I reached the place where I would have to cross the room directly under the picture. I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, I saw my dad standing just an arms length away, under the most beautiful, glowing, green EXIT sign.  I mustered all my strength and ran to him as fast as I could. Relief washed over me as he grabbed my hand and led me outside into the fresh air and bright sunshine.

    While life is not always like a haunted house, it can feel equally scary sometimes. Have you ever been so afraid of something that you became paralyzed from taking action? Maybe it’s fear of failure, or making a the wrong choice in a difficult situation. Sometimes, simply fear of the unknown can be absolutely terrifying.

    When we allow fear to reign, it blinds us from seeing the way out clearly. Instead of walking forward toward our Heavenly Father, we allow fear to keep us immobilized and backed into a corner. In these moments, our minds are focused on our fear instead of on Christ. We are really questioning, “Can I trust that God can see what I cannot? Do I want something better, or will I stay here, feeling stuck and afraid?” Dear friend, the only way out of that dark corner is to grab hold of God’s hand and follow Him out into the fresh air and bright future He has planned for you.

    When we submit to the perfect love of Christ, it permeates every dark corner so that all fear is driven out and we are left with the courage and boldness that comes from living in Christ.

    “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7)

    Today is the day to decide to stop allowing fear to paralyze you from the great things God has in store for you. In Christ, you have all you need to achieve God’s best for your life. Put timidity and fear aside and take hold of power, love and self-discipline! Go! Even if you have to side-step along the wall to get to Him, God will be there, waiting for you. He will give you authority to overcome all that lays in your path. Exchange fear for faith; trust today and live the life you were intended to live!

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