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Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Twelfth Day of Advent: 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.

Dictionary.com 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.

(c) 2018 Edwina E. Cowgill

Birth of Jesus, unforgiveness

Sunday, December 2, 2018 Second Day of Advent: The Gift of Vision

 

 “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets; that he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)

Another translation of this verse says it this way: “Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others.”(The Message)

This verse makes it very plain that God has a vision, not just for the Body of Christ, but also for you and me.  If this verse is not proof enough to persuade you, here’s another one that is more specific in meaning: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11) If there has ever been any doubt in your mind as to whether or not God has a plan for your life, you can banish that doubt now.

God gave Mary a vision – she was to be the mother of the Savior of the world. Put yourself in her place. Just imagine how she felt. Awestruck? Afraid? Nervous?  Can you see this young teenager in your mind? What would you do if an angel of the Lord appeared before you to give you God’s vision and plans for you? Would you agree? Or would you look around the room to see who the angel was speaking to because, surely, it’s not you. But it is you. You are the only one in the room. He loves you enough to want only the best for you.

When Mary questioned the angel who brought the news, she was not doubting—just curious. “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). The angel explained to Mary that it would be by the Holy Spirit and went on to say, “For with God, nothing is impossible.” (vs. 37). Mary accepted God’s vision for herself: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be done unto me according to your word.” (vs. 38) She never doubted, never questioned whether or not the angel had visited the right person. She believed and moved forward in the vision.

God gave Jesus a vision. He was to be the Savior of the world. He was to live on earth as God-made-man for 33 years, die on a cross for the sins of the world and rise again in three days. Jesus didn’t balk, protest or do anything that would have indicated a lack of obedience. He went willingly into cities and countries preaching the gospel of Christ. He went willingly to Gethsemane. He went willingly to Golgotha and He went willingly to the grave. But God’s vision for Jesus did not end at the grave. Three days later, the vision continued as Jesus rose from the grave, triumphing over death, and the vision was completed as Jesus ascended into heaven.

God has a vision for YOU.  If He has shown you that vision, be obedient and walk in it. If He has not shown you the plans He has for you, ask Him to share it with you. In His time, He will show you His vision and it will be better than anything you could ever ask for or think.

Abba Father, thank You for the vision – the plan – that You had for Mary and for Jesus. Thank You for the vision You have for each one of us. I pray that You will give us courage and help us to walk boldly in that vision with confidence in You and Your plan for our lives. Amen!

(c) 2018 Edwina E. Cowgill

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Day Two: The Gift of Vision

 

The Gift of Vision

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets; that he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)

Another translation of this verse says it this way: “Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others.”(The Message)

This verse makes it very plain that God has a vision, not just for the Body of Christ, but also for you and me.  If this verse is not proof enough to persuade you, here’s another one that is more specific in meaning: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11) If there has ever been any doubt in your mind as to whether or not God has a plan for your life, you can banish that doubt now.

God gave Mary a vision – she was to be the mother of the Savior of the world. Put yourself in her place. Just imagine how she felt. Awestruck? Afraid? Nervous?  Can you see this young teenager in your mind? What would you do if an angel of the Lord appeared before you to give you God’s vision and plans for you? Would you agree? Or would you look around the room to see who the angel was speaking to because, surely, it’s not you. But it is you. You are the only one in the room. He loves you enough to want only the best for you.

 When Mary questioned the angel who brought the news, she was not doubting—just curious. “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). The angel explained to Mary that it would be by the Holy Spirit and went on to say, “For with God, nothing is impossible.” (vs. 37). Mary accepted God’s vision for herself: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be done unto me according to your word.” (vs. 38) She never doubted, never questioned whether or not the angel had visited the right person. She believed and moved forward in the vision.

God gave Jesus a vision. He was to be the Savior of the world. He was to live on earth as God-made-man for 33 years, die on a cross for the sins of the world and rise again in three days. Jesus didn’t balk, protest or do anything that would have indicated a lack of obedience. He went willingly into cities and countries preaching the gospel of Christ. He went willingly to Gethsemane. He went willingly to Golgotha and He went willingly to the grave. But God’s vision for Jesus did not end at the grave. Three days later, the vision continued as Jesus rose from the grave, triumphing over death, and the vision was completed as Jesus ascended into heaven.

God has a vision for YOU.  If He has shown you that vision, be obedient and walk in it. If He has not shown you the plans He has for you, ask Him to share it with you. In His time, He will show you His vision and it will be better than anything you could ever ask for or think.

 

Abba Father, thank You for the vision – the plan – that You had for Mary and for Jesus. Thank You for the vision You have for each one of us. I pray that You will give us courage and help us to walk boldly in that vision with confidence in You and Your plan for our lives. Amen!