What if….

Image result for fruit of the holy spiritAs I have been working on book 3 in the series, I find myself once again attempting to create scenes in heaven. Some things are fun to consider. What will it look like, what will we do all day?  What will we wear? Will we get our hair done?

Others are more serious. What will judgment look like? I know there are lots of theories on that, and I do not presume to have the answer. I can only promise to muddy the water.

I have heard preachers say many many times how they were taking some action or another because when they stood before God they wanted Him to say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”  In fact, I just heard that from the pulpit this week.

The pastor was going to change a ministry offered by the church and he acknowledged that it would upset some people but that he had to do what needed to be done because one day he would answer for it to God and he wanted God to say, “well done…”

But…what if….what if, when we stand before the King of Kings, our judgment has nothing at all to do with any of that. What if instead, it is based entirely on our fruit?

If God were judging you based on how patient you were today, how would you do?  Gulp.  I will be the first to admit that I am not going to do too well on this one.

The pastor mentioned how historically churches measured their success by attendance. But does God?  What if, instead of measuring based on attendance at church, He judged us according to how well we loved those who were there? Would your love stand up to the God test?  Did you show God’s love to anyone today?

Instead of judging us according to our sins, what if He judged us on our joy?  Would He say “well done,” to you based on your joy?

What if, instead of measuring us according to how many people we shared the gospel with, He measured by our self-control, would He tell you, “Well done?”

Would your kindness earn you reward in heaven?  Would He congratulate you on how well you did demonstrating peace?  What if that was all that mattered. If you knew that that was what He would measure you on, would it change anything?

What if you knew that when you stood in front of the King of Kings for judgment it was your gentleness He would use to decide if He said, “Well done” or not?

It would change things for me. Would it change anything for you?

I bumped into God on the porch Today

A week or so ago I ordered a replacement mat for our trampoline. Today it arrived. The box was upside down (i.e. the top of the box was on the ground) so I could only see the bottom of the box, which seemed odd. But the really weird part was that God was there – on the box.

Let me start at the beginning. Yesterday I read an article about spiritual gifts and the author made the statement that women are only given gifts “appropriate” for women – and if God gives you a gift that is “inappropriate” for a woman it is so you can help your husband in that area. Not married? Well then bury that gift girl!  (insert vomit emoji here)

I am not here to debate this. But this was the backdrop of my encounter with God.

Because I really really hate this topic, I tried to ignore the article and go on about my day. But stuff like that tends to dig deep and claw at my mind. So it bothered me. It bothered me as I went to bed last night and through the day today.

It bothers me because of all the women and girls I have encountered in my life who have amazing spiritual gifts they are “hiding under a bushel” because they have been taught that those gifts are “inappropriate” for a woman.  I could tell you horror stories but I won’t because this isn’t about horror stories but hope.

Back to the story – the doorbell rang and I bumped into God on the back of a trampoline mat box.  I bought this trampoline through Amazon from a company called Skybound. I knew/know NOTHING about them except they sell trampoline replacement mats and I needed one. I checked out several companies and picked them because over 1,000 Amazon reviewers can’t be wrong…right?? lol.

But there on the back of that box sat God. It was the only thing on the entire bottom side of the box. And if it hadn’t been upside down on the porch I would never have seen it.  It said: 1 Peter 4:10. Box

Of course I looked it up:

1 Peter 4:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I don’t think it was an accident that the same day I was being “attacked” with messages about spiritual gifts, a box arrives on my porch with a Bible verse on the bottom. He wanted us (me and Him and Me and you) to think about this. Here are some things He whispered into my soul.

Despite what the author of the article I read said, the BIBLE says that God has given us all spiritual gifts and that we are to use them to build each other up, and/or serve each other.  And Nowhere in the lists of spiritual gifts does the BIBLE specify that “these are the ones for women and these are the ones for men.”

It does say that our gifts are to be used to SERVE others, not to advance yourself, not to demean others, not for anything at all except to serve others and build up the Church (capital C intentional).

You see, the conversation should never be about who can have what gift. That is not our decision to make, God already made that decision and nothing we can EVER say about it will change anything. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. God didn’t include this in the Bible so we would debate and agree upon who could have what. He doesn’t care what we think, He already decided that. Instead, the conversation should be about helping each person use their gift(s) in the fullest possible way.

Perhaps the most important thing I need to convey is this: You have a gift and you have a God-given mandate to use it. So do that. Don’t let fear or anything else stop you. Use the gift(s) God saw fit to give you. Gifts He knew were perfect for you.  So what are you doing with it?

 

Need more encouragement? Check out The Prophet.

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