Thirsty Thursday: Mad Skillz

Have you ever thought about the natural talents you possess? What are they? Why do you have them? How are you using them?

When God told Moses to have the people build a tabernacle, He called specific people to come:

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. Exodus 36:2

“Every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill.” The LORD has put skill in your mind. He put it there for His glory. However, whether or not your natural talents are given for the work is up to you. There were people who the LORD had given skill to work on the temple that didn’t. Their hearts weren’t stirred to help. So they didn’t.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

I almost always hear this scripture in reference to tithes and offering. Money isn’t even mentioned here! A cheerful giver means giving in a manner that is noticeably happy and optimistic. You can give of your time, your resources, your talents, and YOURSELF cheerfully. I have not been cheerful about giving of myself lately. I have been giving grudgingly and in an obligatory manner. That attitude is not pleasing to God. The good news is that I can change my attitude and I can ask God to forgive me for being selfish. Because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, my bad attitude is covered when I ask forgiveness.

I don’t want to miss out on the blessing of building the plans God has for me.

Thirsty Thursday: Called By Name

Bezalel was born a slave in Egypt. He probably thought that was all he would ever be. Most likely, he never wondered if God would use him to do anything great. What can be done when you’re considered property?

Then God used Moses to free the Israelites from bondage (Exodus 3:7-12). While they were in the wilderness, God told Moses He wanted a tabernacle to be built (Exodus 26). He had specific designs, furnishings, and motifs in mind. He also knew who was to be the leader in building the tabernacle and all it contained.

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the 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 craftmanship, 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. Exodus 31:1-5

God gave Bezalel certain gifts. He gave Bezalel these talents to build the tabernacle. Bezalel would even make the ark of the covenant, which is amazing (Exodus 37:1-9). The place where God would dwell on earth. The very seat of God’s mercy on earth would be fashioned by Bezalel’s hands. The hands of a former slave of Egypt no less.

You have been called by name to do the extraordinary. Let me tell you, I do not feel very extraordinary. I feel ordinary. Most days, I feel less than ordinary. But I have been called by name to be Hunny’s wife. I have been called by name to be Yeeyum’s mommy. I have been called by name to be Cupcake’s caregiver. These sound pretty ordinary, but when I ask God to show His glory through this work, it is extraordinary.

Here’s a personal example: When Hunny and I were dating, he had a pencil sketch of a flower on his desk. He told me that he would paint it some time in the distant future. I kept asking him about this flower. I felt like God gave him a gifting to art and that I was meant to encourage him in it. He finished that piece and it reawakened his love of art. Since then, he has painted numerous paintings, done several art shows, donated art for a fundraiser, and has sold his artwork.

God has called you by name to be a sister, to be a friend, to be a spouse, to be a co-worker, to be an employer… He has called YOU. You were meant to do the extraordinary. God wants to use you to make something amazing on earth.

Thirsty Thursday: The Finger of God

This is the finger of God.

That is a bold statement. It is the statement that was given to Pharaoh when he asked his magicians to create gnats from dust (Exodus 8:16-19). God told Moses to tell Aaron to stretch out his staff and hit the ground, so that gnats would invade Egypt. Aaron did it and all the dust became gnats, settling on the people and animals of Egypt. When the magicians tried to do it, they couldn’t. They said, “This is the finger of God.”

Operation Christmas Child is close to Hunny and my heart. My first experience with OCC was a couple weeks before our wedding. The church we attended at the time went to the OCC processing center in Boone, NC. We went to inspect the boxes and make sure everything was how it should be: no liquids, nothing breakable, no war toys, only hard candy, etc. I thought, Hey guys, there are Americans who don’t have anything for Christmas. What about them? God was not amused. He let me know that my people are my responsiblity. When Jesus told the disciples to feed five thousand people, that was His way of letting them know that the needs of the people are their responsibility.

I became a prayer partner with OCC the following year because we were financially unable to pack shoeboxes of our own. I am so glad that I did. I began to hear story after story of the finger of God being on these shoeboxes like this one: A single mother and her small child had to walk for several days to attend a shoebox giving party. It took that long because the son had a painful limp and they had to stop along the way so he could rest. If the boy had orthopedic shoes in his size, his limp would be corrected. When he received his shoebox, there was a pair of orthopedic shoes. In his size. Did you know they made orthopedic shoes for children around the age of two? If someone told you to pack a small box with things that a 2-4 year old would want, would you put orthopedic shoes in them? I don’t think so! But some obedient soul listened when God told them to put orthopedic shoes in a shoebox to send to a war torn country.

Did you know that the finger of God is on you? There is less than a 25% chance of a woman conceiving a child when she has intercourse. There are millions of genetic combinations that could have resulted between your father and your mother. It is mathematically impossible that you, with all your physical makeup and quirky faults exactly as you are right now, are reading this. It is mathematically impossible that I am writing this. But here you are and here I am.

We think we’re so smart. When I say “we,” I mean mankind or human beings as a whole. We think we’ve got it all figured out. “Walk more and it will add a year to your life.” We can’t add a minute to our life (Matthew 6:24-34). Our days are counted as are the hairs on our head. “Read this book and it will change your life.” The only book that can really change your life is the Bible. It’s the only book that was written with the finger of God.

The finger of God is on you right now. What are you doing to show it?

Thirsty Thursday: Glory and Beauty

As Hunny and I are reading through the Bible, we got to the part where God tells Moses what the priests are meant to wear.  It might sound tedious and boring to those who could care less what covers their bodies from day to day, but something stood out to me:

You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. Exodus 28:2 (emphasis mine)

For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics; you shall also make sashes for them; and you shall make caps for them, for glory and for beauty. Exodus 28:40 (emphasis mine)

God wanted the priests clothing to bring reverence and adoration to Him and to be pleasing to the eye.  I think your average Christian would be appalled to read that the Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15) cares about something like beauty.  To the average person, beauty is a trivial, superficial thing.  It is not something that we think the Most High God (Genesis 14:22) should care about, but He does.  Beauty was second to praise.

This really intrigued me, so I looked up the definition of beauty.  The second definition for beauty as a noun came up as:

A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense

Beauty isn’t frivolous.  Beauty isn’t shallow.  Beauty points to God.  Things that are beautiful reveal His Presence, His Majesty.  The fact that there is beauty in the world at all gives us a glimpse of Him.  He is unveiling Himself to us through beauty, and we aren’t even paying attention.

As Christians, God uses our lives for His glory and for beauty.  What is more beautiful than a loving couple having a baby?  Or a friend listening to your problem?  Or crying over the loss of a loved one with someone?  Or two people laughing at nothing in particular?  Our triumphs and our defeats point to God (at least, that is what they are meant to do).  I try to give God glory for everything in my life, but I haven’t been enjoying the beauty of life like I should.  Beauty is what I am missing.  Not because it doesn’t surround me, but because I choose not to see it.

Beauty

Join with me in resting in the beauty of God’s presence in everything today and always.