Friday, October 28, 2016

The Donation That Had To Stop

"Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the Lord has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to the LordWhoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord's contribution..."    "...And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more." - Exodus 35:1-5a & Exodus 36:2-7

It really stood out to me here how excited everyone must have been to contribute to God's work in the camp. They gave so much that they were told to quit because there was more than was needed! How amazing. How eager are we to give our time, talent, and resources to aid the local church and ministry? Why or why not?  

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Gift of Ability

"The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you." - Exodus 31:1-6

I have been reading Exodus lately and recently got to the part about making the tabernacle and ceremonial attire/accessories. At first glance, those chapters looks like just a lot of instructions, but there are even lessons to be noted within passages such as this if you look for them. 

Notice that the people God called to be the official artists of the endeavor were not noted as being brilliantly creative. Rather, God called them and then He gave them the ability to do this great service for Him and their fellow people. While folks such as ourselves may not be in charge of creating a grand place of worship, this tidbit can still be greatly encouraging: God gives His people the ability to follow His commands. 

Whether we are called into something big like traveling missions work or simply just to live the layman's life and gain a more Christlike state of existence, He gives us the ability- we just need to consciously strive to do it, and do it for His glory.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A New Hope

My brother and I were on a road trip. I had doubts about the single lane farm road that my GPS wanted us to turn on, but we had all afternoon to get home, so I allowed my sense of adventure to take over and made the move. After nearly an hour of winding scenic roads (half of which were gravel!), we were coming down a large hill, finally nearing what appeared to be civilization, we saw this road sign. We laughed and cheered, partly because of the Star Wars reference and partly because the timing was so appropriate for us to see a "new hope".

Then I did a double-take: Loop. New Hope Loop. Loops lead in a circle and spit you back out right where you started. That's not hopeful! But how often is this exactly what many of our hopes do for us? We hold an event, item, or person  (maybe even ourselves!) up in our minds, putting our hope in them to make us feel happy or fulfilled. Eventually, things happen, and those hopes fall flat. Or, if our hope is fulfilled, the happiness only lasts for so long before we start in on another low and have to find something new to hope to find our fulfillment in. Thus, the loop repeats.

While there is nothing wrong with excitedly awaiting events, loving people, and even being satisfied with yourself, we should be careful not to elevate those things above God. He is the author of hope; let us keep our hope in His plan and purposes! 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." - Romans 15:13

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

There is a Veggie Tales silly-song that is well known among Christians who either had or were children in the early 2000's:

"We are the pirates who don't do anything
We just stay at home and lay around
And if you ask us to do anything...
We'll just tell you...
We don't do anything!"

Considering the fact that pirates are known to pillage and plunder and be an all-out horrible bunch, the idea of a band of pirates who sit around being lazy all day every day is a rather comical thought. It left me wondering something: could one really be a pirate without doing anything? Isn't piracy action-based? It is centered around robbing people, after all. It then occurred to me, "...A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven." (John 3:27). This includes our time. 

Now, granted, every minute we have here on earth is given to us by God. We can't exactly steal what is given as a gift. We can, however, waste it, which is nearly as bad. We are told that, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:23-24). If we are expected to use the time given to us to serve and glorify God, would it be fair to assume that it is near-piracy to steal away precious minutes from our true calling and waste them on useless endeavors?