Celebrating the Abundance of Success

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Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


The harvest is great, but the workers are few.
So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest;
ask him to send more workers into his fields.
~ Luke 10:2

The Comparison Trap:  Week Four, Day Four… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

Our faith is so important. 

We’re challenged at almost every turn by negativity, hardships, death, or a lack of hope. When we aren’t, we struggle with thinking that the good stuff—like love, success, opportunity, joy, hope and praise—are in limited supply. Because of this kind of thinking, we often grab onto what we can, and we hold tight, not wanting to share it.

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few.”  Part of our faith is not just sitting back and letting others make a way for the harvest, but it is us going out and into the world to be one of those who brings the message to others. There is work to be done.

There is enough work to go around, but there is also enough hope, happiness, success, love and praise to share with others. When we can do that without the soil of comparison, we help to prepare for the harvest.

Sandra says, “Seeing a friend win at something doesn’t diminish your shot at success.”  She continues, “There is enough to go around; in fact, there is so much to go around that today’s verse reminds us our prayer should really be for more friends to find success putting their gifts to use for God.”

When we celebrate the successes of others, it doesn’t take away from ours. When we offer praise to others, it means we’re willing to think of them and recognize what they’ve accomplished. When we see others using their God-given talents and gifts, it should encourage us toward the purpose of our faith.

I tend to think that we’ve got a better shot at success when we’re willing to celebrate the success of those around us. I think the same about love, joy, peace and hope, too. Our faith is so important. Are you ready to be a worker in the harvest? See you in the field.


 

 

 

 

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Seeing Broken Bits Multiplied into Blessings

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Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


Andrew spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small
barley loaves and two small fish,
but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”
There was plenty of grass in that place, and they
sat down (about five thousand men were there).
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed to those who were seated
as much as they wanted.
He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat,
he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are
left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets
with the pieces of the five barley loaves
left over by those who had eaten.
~ John 6:8-13

The Comparison Trap:  Week Three, Day Three… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

For me, this is one of the most powerful devotions in the Comparison Trap study, so far.

I’ve been going through some things in my life… things that are uncomfortable, and circumstances which have pushed me to limits I didn’t know I had. I find hope in the Scripture above, even though the expectant hope and personal application I’ve found in it is somewhat outside the context of the verses.

Here are the three things which stand out the most to me:

  1. “Here is a boy…”  He’s a boy. Not a pastor, teacher, business man, or anyone who might stand out to others. He’s a boy.
  2. “Let nothing be wasted…,” said Jesus. I’ve always known He told the disciples to gather what remained, but I’ve never consciously read those words to the point that they’d stand out, even though my study Bible is an older New International Version (the same as the Scripture above).
  3. God provides, and He turns what we have to offer Him into blessings.

So here are my main takeaways from the three aspects which stand out to me:

  1. I am the boy. You are the boy. Whatever we have to offer Him, he can use. Am I willing to recognize that even a small offering can be a blessing? That He can use it for the good of others? That my faith can grow when I am willing to share the gifts He’s given me?
  2. God wastes nothing.  I’ve said this so many times to myself, and I’ve written about it, too. Yesterday, in a weepy breakdown, I just kept repeating this over and over to myself, and here it is in the Scripture today. He’s going to create a way for the broken bits and pieces of my life to be multiplied, shared, and gathered, because He is the One who commands that nothing be wasted.
  3. He’s ready to multiply my faith and turn it into blessings for me and for others. We don’t know the attitude of the boy who offered up his lunch, but we do know what was done with it. I need to keep reminding myself that this life isn’t just about me and my weepy circumstances; it’s about how He can and will use those circumstances for His good if I’m willing to lay them at His feet.

Sandra Stanley asks, “What did it do to the boy’s faith to watch Jesus turn his small offering into a blessing for so many others? What could it do to your faith to watch God do the same with what you can offer?”

She goes on to encourage us to fight the feelings that our little bits could never go far enough, and to instead, trust God to make our bits astoundingly more—immeasurably more, even.

In my weepy moments and in my joyous ones, it’s important for me to remember that He commands nothing be wasted, and that what I have IS less important than what I do with what I have. The impact is made when I’m willing to offer up what I have for Him to use.


 

Will You Give Christmas Away This Year?

Christmas Tree Cross.COMPRESSED

Will you give Christmas away this year?

Immanuel — “God with us” —  is not meant just to keep Him with us and in us. Yes, He came to dwell with us and among us, and His Spirit still does dwell within us. But the “with us” and the “in us” is not just for us.

He was meant to be shared.

In this wonderful season — this glorious time of the year — we have the choice in whether or not to share Him with others.

…not in a package, or a gift bag, or a present wrapped in a bow, but in the care, prayer and hope found in Immanuel.

…not in the tinsel, the wreaths, the stockings or the lights, but in the living ornaments of peace, strength, joy and hope we string through His purpose for us. These ornaments are the ones we keep out all year-long, not the ones we pack away and put into a box until next year. These are the real gifts that, when received, are perfectly acceptable and highly encouraged to re-gift to others.

Give Christmas away this year.

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There Are No Leftovers in “thanks-giving”

Thnks-givingLeftovers.ORIGINAL.Compressed

The leftovers have been put away. The dishes have all been done. Thoughts are turning away from giving thanks and toward shopping, sales, decorating, holiday parties, the next family gathering and the birth of a babe.

Many of us ventured out to shop and spend today; the holiday music was blaring at every turn, and the colors of orange, brown, yellow and sienna overwhelmingly made way for the red, green, silver, gold and white.

A few days ago, I wrote a post on my Facebook page about how America was looking forward to putting a capital “T” on Thanksgiving and celebrating with family, food and fellowship. In that same post, I reflected upon living a 365-life full of “t,” where the joys of our blessings are felt and radiated outward no matter what the day or circumstances.

The season of thanksgiving is still upon us, or, at least, it should be.

When we live a life full of thanks-giving for our blessings, we have a peace, hope, joy and abundance which permeates our relationships, our careers, our fellowship and our walk. Being filled with thanks-giving is not something that comes from what happens to us from the outside-in, but it is something that fills us from the inside-out and spills over into every aspect of our lives.

Today, as we find ourselves mentally, physically, monetarily and spiritually getting ready for the next holiday, let’s make our thanks-giving the primary focus of our preparations and the days to come. The gifts we both offer and receive from that joy will be multiplied!

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