administration; gift

Day Twenty two: The Gift of Administration

The Gift of Administration

1 Corinthians 12:28
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

Years ago, I wondered why God created the gift of administration. I considered it one of the “lesser” gifts – not that there is such a thing.  I asked God one day why He created the gift of administration and He quickly showed me that He is a God of Order. When He created the world and all that is within, He did it in an orderly fashion. On the first day, He created light and dark. On the second day, He created the sky, separating the water from the sky. On the third day, He created the land. He didn’t create light one day and go back three or four days later and create dark.  There was organization and order to what He did. Okay – I got it – and once I got it, He showed me that what I had assumed I had learned over the years of being in the administration field, wasn’t the case at all. He had given me the gift of administration. To the extreme. I write that, not to brag at all, but to say that I can drive people nuts (and have done so) because I am so organized. I make lists for everything. I sometimes jokingly say I need a list of the current running lists I have!

This gift has been and is truly a blessing. It has opened doors for promotion in my career that I probably would not have gotten without this gift. It has saved my job countless times as various bosses run out the door, yelling, “where’s the…..” and I find the requested item and hand it to him/her before apoplexy starts. And the gift has helped keep me on track personally. Just don’t come to my house and look in my closets – the gift of administration stops at all my closet doors and refuses to go in!! J

How has the gift of administration helped me spiritually?  I have served in numerous volunteer positions in churches over the years and I have used this gift in many of those positions, especially in teaching and in committee work.

I have served as a Church Business Administrator for over fifteen years at two different churches.  Many people do not want to think of the church as a “business” and I totally agree with their viewpoint. A church is a ministry, but there is a business aspect to it. After all, if there is not someone to make sure the power bill gets paid, the ministry will cease to function very quickly.  But the gift is also used in other aspects of the church office.  Countless numbers of times I have been used to talk to people who are in need of encouragement, who need prayer, who need someone to listen. I have been humbled and honored to be the one to talk and pray with them. How does administration play into that? It allows me to adjust my schedule to help these people, which is what I love to do. 

I am also a Christian counselor and have had the opportunity to counsel a number of people on being organized and time management. If a person’s lack of organization prevents them, for whatever reason, from doing what God has called them to do, then that is an aspect of their life that they should work on improving so they can do the things God has for them to do.

So the gift I thought of as a “lesser” gift has and continues to play an important role in my life. I love every aspect of administration and I am grateful to God for blessing me with this gift.

Has God gifted you with the gift of administration? If so, are you using it to His glory? If not, and you desire to be more organized, pray and ask for the gift of administration. Before you know it, you just might be making lists, too!

Father God, Your gifts are beyond measure!  How awesome it is that You know the very gifts we need and You bestow those gifts upon us!  Thank you, Abba Father.  May we never take any gift for granted, but use them to bring You honor and glory! AMEN!!

Family, friends

Day Twentyone: The Gift of Family and Friends

The Gift of Family and Friends

“…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 24b

God has gifted me today with a wonderful family and great friends. If you have read my past blogs, you probably read about my family. I am married to my soul mate and best friend, Dave. I have two wonderful adult children, Kim and Kyle and a fantabulous (my new word I created: a combination of “fantastic” and “fabulous”) grandson, Mackenzie. I am blessed that my parents are still living and I have one sister who I love dearly. There are also “family” members who, although not related by blood, they are still precious family to me.

God has blessed me with many faithful friends throughout the years. (There is not enough space to write about all of them and to avoid offending anyone, I have left out the names of the two that I mention.) I have one friend with whom I grew up. Our parents were best friends and she and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. We don’t get to spend as much time together as I would like, but when we get together, it’s as if we had seen each other the day before.

Another friend is a strong and mighty prayer warrior. I know that I can call her any time – day or night – and she will drop what she is doing and pray with me over the phone. She has a delightful laugh that cheers me instantly when I hear it!

I have a number of “online” friends through the American Christian Fiction Writers group. I had the pleasure of meeting some of these writers in September at the ACFW Conference and they are just as sweet sincere in their desire to help in person as they are online.  These men and women will take time out of their incredibly busy schedule to answer questions, give advice, and/or encouragement when needed. Many of them are successful, published authors who made a commitment to help those of us who are just getting started. And they keep their commitment every day.

I belong to a group of writers, Christian Writers United, in the county where I live. This group started in November, 2008, so we are just a little over two years old. Some of the original members left and some new members joined and we have become a cohesive family. The members in this group are exhorters and no one puts him/herself above anyone else in the group. We are there to encourage and support one another.

I saved my very best friend for last. There really is a “Friend who sticks closer than a brother” and his name is Jesus. We are all human and as hard as we may try to not fail our friends, there will be times when we do. It’s the nature of the beast. This Friend, however, will never fail us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is available 24/7/365. He loves us unconditionally, extravagantly, recklessly. If you do not know Jesus as your Savior and Best Friend, find a Bible and read Romans 10:8-13. Pray and ask Jesus to be your Savior and Best Friend. It will be a friendship for eternity.

Abba Father, thank you for being the Friend that is closer than a brother. I pray that if anyone reads this devotional and does not know you as their Savior, that they will read Romans 10:8-13 and will pray to receive You into their heart. I pray that You will bring Christian friends into their lives to help them as they begin their friendship with You. I ask your blessings on my family and friends and on the families and friends of everyone who reads this devotional.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Day Twenty: The Gift of Freedom

The Gift of Freedom

My present today was the gift of freedom.  When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he sets us free from the bondage of sin. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36) Once saved, our lives are no longer tangled up in sin and shame.

The Bible says that where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (II Cor. 3:17) This is so true. Have you ever been in a worship service or even been worshipping by yourself, and you knew the Spirit of the Lord was present? You felt completely free during that time to worship uninhibitedly, freely.

We are given the freedom to approach God.  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Eph. 3:12) We don’t have to build up our courage, or wait until we think the timing is right. We don’t have to wait for an invitation. We have the freedom to approach God any time – day or night.

The freedoms that I mentioned fall into a category that I call spiritual freedoms.

There are also freedoms that I call secular freedoms. These are freedoms that allow us to express our beliefs publically. We have the freedom to worship where we please, when we please and how we please. We do not have to hide our Bibles, much less our faith. We are free to witness to others anytime. We have the right to assemble together in church buildings and storefront buildings and borrowed locations all over America. My concern is that these freedoms are in grave danger. Other religions in America are being given preferential treatment while Christianity is being choked out of existence. We as Christians need to stand up for our rights and not have the defeatist attitude that seems to have overtaken so many. I, for one, love my freedom to worship publically and do not want to lose it.

Father God, I pray that you will give us the courage to stand up for our rights as  Christians. I pray that You will show us when to act, what to do and what to say. I ask that You stir the hearts of all Christians that we might stand united as one for our religious freedoms. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
contentment; need, plenty

Day Nineteen: The Gift of Contentment

The Gift of Contentment

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12)

The Apostle Paul wrote these verses as he sat in a dirty, foul-smelling Roman prison. Yet, he was truly content. Had that been me, I’m sure I would have been screaming – furious at the lack of cleanliness, furious at the circumstances, furious at the unfairness of it all.

Still, I have experienced times of true contentment. I have realized that these times of true contentment are when I have listened and been obedient to what God has told me to do. Or the times when I have relinquished to God a problem I’ve been wrestling with and I’ve left that problem with Him to solve. I’ve completely let go of worrying about it, of trying to “fix it” and left it in Jesus’ most capable hands to resolve it as He sees fit. That is very hard for me to do – I’m such a fixer – I want to fix everything. And I’m impatient too. I want to fix it and I want to fix it NOW! So in addition to giving that problem to God, I have to be content with His timetable – not mine. It’s not easy, but I’m learning. One thing I do know – God’s solutions are always more satisfactory than mine would ever be and the contentment is much sweeter than when I try to fix the problem. In fact, there is no contentment when I try to fix the situation.

My commitment is to learn to live in true contentment all the time. It should be easy. All I have to do is unfurl this fist that is tightly woven around this problem…..

Father, I ask in the name of Jesus, that You would help us let go of the problems that would prevent us from being content. I pray that You would enable us to leave those problems in Your hands, knowing that Your solutions are always for the best. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© December, 2009

Day Seventeen: The Gift of Truth

The Gift of Truth

John 8:32: Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

In order to understand how truth sets us free, we must first look at how not knowing the truth keeps us bound. 

What people perceive to be the truth is truth to them.  Whether or not it’s really truth has nothing to do with what they believe.  Their perception—about themselves, others, any situation—is truth to them. For example, when a woman looks in the mirror and tells herself, “You’re fat, you’re disgusting, no one can love you if you look like this,” that is truth to her, even if she weighs one hundred pounds and is five feet, six inches. Because she believes what she says, it is truth to her.

Another example is the person who tells themselves that God doesn’t love him or her. “I know He loves others, but not me.  I’ve done too many bad things for Him to love me.” Until the real truth is revealed to this person, and they come to know and believe that God truly does love them, he or she will believe that He doesn’t love them and that will be his or her truth.

Where do we find the truth?  The same place we find all of the answers to our questions and challenges.  We find truth in the Bible. As we search the Scriptures, God reveals the truth to the answers we seek. When we pray and listen to God, He will speak to us, providing us with the answers we need. And as we sit in His presence, He will pour out His love into our hearts and lives, showing us how much He adores us. 

God will also reveal Himself and His truth in the sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We “celebrate the Eucharist” or as some denominations call it “take communion.” Whatever your denomination calls it, it is a time of remembrance and reflection, and listening to God as He may speak to you during this time.

My prayer for you during this Advent Season is that “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!”

Father God, I ask in the name of Jesus that You reveal the truth to each one who is searching today. Whether they are searching for truth about themselves, others or a situation they find themselves in, I pray that You will reveal the truth to them, giving them Your wisdom and guidance. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.
healing, health

Day Fourteen: The Gift of Health

The Gift of Health*

3 John 2: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things, and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (New King James Bible)

Isaiah 53:5 “…and by His stripes we are healed.” (New King James Bible) (emphasis mine; present tense)

Psalm 103:3 He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. (The Message)

These are just three of the many verses on healing and health. We know that it is God’s will and purpose for us to live in health. So why do so many of us, me included, have health issues? When we pray for people to be healed, why aren’t they?

These are, frankly, questions that I have struggled with for a long time.  I will be taking my husband to the hospital in less than two hours to have his fifth surgery in less than two years. We have prayed for him to be healed. Others have prayed for him to be healed. He has been anointed with oil and prayed over to be healed. So why hasn’t he been healed?

It is not because we don’t believe God can heal him. We do. I have seen God’s healing power work in my own life and the lives of others. We know God can heal.

I think illness is a part of life. I’m not saying we should accept it as such. We should always pray and believe for healing.  What I am saying is because of the sin of Adam and Eve, evil entered the world and sickness is part of that evil. I do not believe sickness is punishment for a sin that the sick person committed!  I am only saying that I believe illness is part of the evil in the world and because we live in the world, there will be times when we are sick. 

Regardless of how we get sick, or why we get sick, our responsibility as Christians is to believe for healing. We should ask God to use the illness as a time to teach us things He wants us to know and make this a time for spiritual growth.

Father, I pray that you will touch each person that reads this blog today. If they are ill, I pray in the name of Jesus that You will heal them as they read this blog. Strengthen their faith in Your healing power.  Help them to lean on You to meet all of their needs, Thank you Father for loving us so much You desire for us to live full and healthy lives here on earth. AMEN.

*Written December 14, 2009

© 2009 Edwina E. Cowgill
servant, service

Day Thirdteen: The Gift of Service

The Gift of Service

I Corinthians 12:4-5 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. defines service as “an act of helpful activity; help; aid: to do someone a service.” Another definition listed is “the serving of God by obedience, piety, etc.: voluntary service.” If we combine these two definitions to develop a “spiritual” definition, it might look something like this: The activity of obeying God’s command to serve others.

Matthew 35:25-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ “

As it says in I Corinthians 12, there are different kinds of service. Many people have been given the serving gift of hospitality. Not only can they whip up a gourmet meal to take to someone who’s just gotten home from the hospital, they will also open their home for indefinite periods of time to host missionaries, evangelists and those who are displaced. When it comes to hospitality, unexpected guests for dinner, or guests who stay for months, do not rattle them. There is nothing related to hospitality this group of people can’t do. It is a special gift and calling with which God has blessed them.

There is also the serving gift of helps. By “helps” I mean helping in ways that those being helped cannot do. For example, repairs to items in the home, or the house itself, or car repairs. Some people help by running errands, driving those who can’t drive to the doctor or grocery store. The serving gift of helps is an extremely important one, especially to those in need.

Many people have the serving gift of visitation.  Most people probably don’t look at visitation as a gift. Have you ever known anyone who is comfortable in any situation? They can go into a stranger’s home and immediately put everyone at ease. They can visit those that mourn and know exactly what to say to bring comfort to the mourner. They can call on those in the hospital and bring cheer by their very presence. That is the serving gift of visitation.

Jesus was a servant. We don’t often look at Him that way. What we consider miracles was simply an act of service to Him. He served the people by feeding the multitude. He served His disciples by teaching them. He served the sick by healing them. Everything Jesus did during His three short years of ministry was an act of service.

He has given each of us the gift of service. Some will have the gift of helps or hospitality, as already mentioned. Others may have the gift of exhortation, or encouragement, still others may have the gift of showing mercy or the gift of teaching. All of these are used in our service to others.

What is your gift of service?

 Father God, during this season of Advent, may we use these gifts that You have graciously given us to bless others. Open our eyes that we may see the opportunities to serve others. Give us courage to move forward and help when we see those opportunities. I ask that You bless everyone that we serve. In Jesus’ matchless name, AMEN.