Grace

Stewarding Our Wealth

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“Having gifts that differ
according to the Grace given us,
let us use them…” Romans 12:6

Each one of us has been given different gifts. Gifts of Grace from our Creator. These gifts are the empowerment to bring Glory upon the Earth in an unique way that God designed only you to do. Each time you use your gift you are partnering with God to leave an everlasting Holy imprint of that partnership. Like a fingerprint made with your finger and His Glory-filled ink. But this partnership doesn’t just happen. It’s not accidental nor coincidence. It requires faith and stewardship.

Most people associate stewardship with money. When really it has to do with wealth. What’s that you say? Isn’t wealth and money basically the same thing? I would answer with a resounding, “No!”

While we may not all have bank accounts filled with lots of commas and zeros, the redeemed do all have an account overflowing with the riches of Christ.
Did you know you were wealthy? You are!

One day Jesus told a parable about a man who went on a journey (recorded in Matthew 25). Before he left he gave some of his wealth to his servants to manage -each ACCORDING TO HIS ABILITY – and he expected those servants to multiply what they had be given. The man give one servant five talents, another two and yet another one talent. (Talents here was an amount of money not a skill in the way we use this word in modern times.)

There are so many things that keep us from multiplying the wealth that we have been given. One of the big ones is COMPARISON. We think we all should have the same and when we notice the differences we have bad thoughts. Thoughts of bitterness, jealousy, self loathing, pride. This is why in the Word we are encouraged to consider ourselves with “sober judgment” and “not to compare ourselves with one another.”

Another reason we are unfruitful is having an inaccurate perception of God and his intent for us. In the parable mentioned above the servant given the least amount buried it in FEAR. Although he preserved what he was given, he did nothing to multiply his gift. The excuse he gave his master was that he SAW HIM as harsh, unjust and greedy. Unfortunately, that servant’s perception became his reality!

But the biggest reason we don’t steward our gifts well, why we don’t multiply the wealth we have been given? Forgetfulness! What do we forget? We forget we are forgiven, the Grace of His Salvation (2 Peter 1:9ff)! In forgetting this we discount who God is, His Love for us, and become blinded to our calling.

We forget who WE ARE!

You we were created with unique gifts. When you were filled with the Holy Spirit you were empowered to use those gifts to impact the world with and for the Glory of God. Have you forgotten who you are? Are you aware of the gifts you’ve been given? When we are using our gifts as God designed we feel fully alive. This is good news!

What is that you are doing when you feel fully alive? This is most likely one of your gifts. Is there a way for you to better steward that gift? Put another way, is there something you can do to invest in yourself to make that gift multiply in your life?

“Having gifts that differ, according to the GRACE given us let USE them…”

Begin today using your GIFT!

Do you have questions about finding and stewarding your gifts? Ask them in the comments or send me a private message.

This is your #gracefilledmoment with Debra Bell.

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reNEWed

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We love New.  New beginnings.  Fresh starts.

Clean slates.

We like January Firsts, Mondays, New fiscal quarters; to flip the page to a new month or week in our calendar.

DSC04887We like new ledgers, balanced books and untainted goals.

We like Resolutions. Solutions. Resolve – unmarred by failed attempts.  The hope in them still bright.

Hope is empowering!  It reminds us our dreams can still come true, our destiny actualized.

One month into 2013 you may have already found yourself falling short in your new years resolutions.  Maybe you set financial or exercise goals, perhaps you made a plan to read more or serve more, be angry less or forgive quickly.  Perhaps you are not seeing the progress you envisioned. Whatever you resolved to do, don’t dismay!

I have some encouragement for you!

The mercy, grace, empowerment and hope of God is available in every breathe.  Mistakes covered, shortcomings made up for, debt paid.  We need only to turn to what He provides.  We do not have to flip the calendar to a new year, month or week.  We don’t need to wait until the new fiscal quarter.

Every. Day. Is. A. Fresh. Start.

His mercies are NEW every morning.”

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

You can start over right now.  Now is your fresh start.  Now is your new beginning.

Now is your NEW.

In Him you have ALL that you need.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”.  2 Peter 1:3

Infertility, IVF & Grace (part 2)

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Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see.  Faith is trust between lovers. But I had turned it into a negotiation technique: if I believe a thing and act accordingly then God is obligated to act on my behalf.  This is not faith and this is not a love relationship.  This is false intimacy – an illusion of closeness.  And it’s this illusion that caused me to fall so hard after the loss of my two little ones.  Looking through Grace allowed me to see God and rebuild a relationship again without my illusions.

This was probably one of the hardest times in my life but it’s one of my favorites.  God and I came into a relationship I only talked about before.  He allowed me to feel whatever grief I needed to and I allowed Him to show me His love and wisdom through Grace.  He got my head screwed back on straight and helped me through the process of healing.

We had decided to go ahead with our last round of IVF instead of waiting until Jonathan returned home from his deployment.  Our last two little ones who had been frozen for a few months were my final hope of starting a family.  Looking back now I know it was my anxiety that just wanted to push to get this over with.  Success or failure didn’t really matter – I just needed to move on from waiting.

The view from the house towards Lake Sammamish

It snowed that November in Seattle.  Old friends who just happened to move to the area let me stay with them for a few weeks over Thanksgiving.   They were renovating an old house and they let me sleep in the basement bedroom – one of the few rooms that still had a floor.  The house was cold, drafty a shell of what was soon to be a fabulous home.  Most of their things were in storage until the house was finished but they did have a couple chairs, a bed, a small TV and a very fabulous coffee maker.  My friend told me it cost more than her first car.  It’s the kind that grinds the beans fresh for each cup with a touch of a button.  You can choose the strength and it even has one of those steaming gadgets if you want to foam your milk.  I surely drank too much coffee those days but it was nice to curl up with a cup in one of the two chairs in the house and chat with my friend.  It was also at this time, fabulous coffee in hand, that I started to write about Grace and destiny.

I have to admit I didn’t enter this round of IVF with as much Faith.  Last time it had honestly never crossed my mind that it wouldn’t work.  But this time I had a different perspective.  I went in leaning much more on Grace than Faith and simply hoped that “Perhaps the Lord might act on our behalf”.   Though I slept on a blow up mattress, Grace remained my featherbed.  As I fought off worry, Grace was a comforter and support.  Despite my brokenness I felt a certainty.  I no longer struggled with whether or not God was good.  I knew He was.  I didn’t wonder if He loved me.  I knew He did.  And no matter what the outcome of IVF I knew God was for me wanting to see me reach my destiny.

I can’t tell you exactly how I came to be so certain.  But after I opened myself to see God through Grace something happened.  I lay there sobbing until the tears were all gone and I found a vulnerability and dependency that said, “I trust you.”  I trust that your goodness is not dependant on my favorable circumstances. You are unchanging. I trust that you love me now and always because you said nothing could change that – I was the one who added the rules of performance.  I trust that you are bigger than me, see better than me, know more than me, so no matter how it looks you are on the sidelines wanting the best for me, not trying to see me fail or teach me a lesson.  Anytime I started to think about something that didn’t line up with these truths I knew my thinking was wrong.  These will never change:

God is Good

God loves ME and

God is for me not against me!

I did everything just like they told me.  Count these days, take these tests, and show up for this procedure.  It felt just like last time.  But I left the office with a glimmer of hope, “What if THIS was IT!?”  I knew what to expect this time for the “Two Week Wait” but it didn’t make it go any faster.  The nervous anxiety clung to me everyday until my blood was drawn. It just so happened to fall on my birthday.  When she called I could tell in the nurses tone before the words came that the results were negative.  I wasn’t pregnant, again.

I got that call while traveling with family on the East coast.  We were touring DC and that day we visited the Holocaust Museum.  I grieved but there’s nothing like the Holocaust Museum to put your life in perspective.  Reading and viewing life size depictions of Holocaust victims made living without children like an easy sacrifice.  And I left feeling grateful for my life.

I decided to spend the rest of Jonathan’s deployment traveling and visiting family and friends who would help strengthen me while grieving.  I did a ton of soul searching and spent countless hours in prayer, worship, and writing.  I got back into kickboxing – an old love  – and reaped the physical and therapeutic rewards.  I don’t know of a better way to work out frustration than to pummel and kick a bag with all your might.  It was a cleansing and clarifying time.

When Jonathan returned home after seven months away we focused our attention on reuniting and rekindling our connection and not on family building.  Although deep down in our hearts we had a hope that God would do something supernatural that wasn’t something I wanted to put any emotional or mental energy into.  We even found ourselves dreaming about the benefits of life without children: more free time, more money, less stress, more sleep.  We integrated back into our church family after both having been gone.  I rejoined our community but stayed out of volunteering for a little while.  Most everyone there knew our circumstances and despite my request for people to stop praying for me to get pregnant and have a family, they didn’t.  Obviously I still had some unresolved anger, but I was working on it.  Slowly I got back into ministry.  It just felt good to be giving to people and I had so much to share about how God had been with me in hard times.

I think we had been home about a year when someone from church came up to me and said, “I think I have something that will change your life!”  I was hesitant but asked what it was.  She explained how she knew someone who was pregnant and was considering adoption.  I thanked her for the news and said she could keep me posted but I wasn’t initially excited about the idea, even more so since it was just a “what if” situation.  Jonathan had always been open to adoption.  Not just babies but children from around the world.  He has such a big heart.  I, on the other hand, wasn’t interested.  I’m still not sure what my issue was – no doubt it was based in fear of something.  Regardless, I told Jonathan about the news and allowed myself to be a little excited about the prospect of a baby.  Hardly anyone knew about the woman, she went to another church in town, but still some talk about her situation could be heard that made me guard my heart against hoping.  I didn’t need anymore disappointment.  I trusted God; as I said before, I knew He was good and that He loved me, I just wasn’t sure I could hear Him clearly on this issue.  That was not the case for those around me; they prayed with faith for things I wouldn’t allow myself to dream of anymore.

It was February when I got a phone call from the woman, I’ll call her Mary.  She knew I knew about her and her situation so without explanation she asked if Jonathan and I wanted to meet her and her husband to talk about it.  We set up a time for later that week.  I was nervous but allowed myself to get a little excited.   My position at church was a public one.  So Mary knew me but I didn’t know anything about her except what others had told me.

That day we drove just a few short miles from our house to a little shop where we met Mary and her husband.  After a few handshakes and brief introductions we sat down at a small table.  She looked over at me, gently laid her hands a small blue hat box and pushed it across the table saying, “God, told me to give this to you.”  Inside the box was a DVD of her ultrasound and a small crocheted blue blanket she had made for the 20 week old little boy that grow in her womb.  Mary’s story of regret and redemption is a beautiful one.  One that is not for me to tell perhaps one day she will write it herself.  Until then let it be said that she sought God’s guidance for the destiny of that little boy and she found His finger pointing at us.

My heart leapt!  But I grabbed it and stuffed it back into a safe place of doubt before moving on.  I took the box without knowing what to say.  “Thank you?”  I actually don’t remember what I said.  I remember us talking about some realistic details and the four of us prayed together.  From that moment on, to Mary, I was the Mommy.  I went to every midwife appointment and ultrasound.  We visited and got to know each other.  She asked us to name him, said she’d call him Mr. Wigglesworth until we did.  When time came for delivery she called Jonathan and me and we were with her the whole night.

My eldest son was born by an amazingly strong woman, her husband and closest girlfriend by her side.  Jonathan cut the cord and from that moment on he was ours.  In a instant I was a mother.

Admiration. Moments after my eldest son's birth.

I hadn’t dreamed of it this way but now I couldn’t dream of it being any other.  And the miracles didn’t stop there.  When our firstborn was 5 months old I got pregnant without clinics, drugs, planning or trying.  I know I know you hear this all the time.  Someone adopts a baby and then they stop thinking about getting pregnant – they are so relaxed it just happens.  I don’t know how many people told me I just needed to relax and “it” would happen.  But I was not relaxed and that is not what happened.  Motherhood was an identity I had to adjust to.  Being a mom is hard.  The exhaustion alone caused emotional and physical stress, Jonathan got orders to deploy again and a legal battle around the adoption was ensuing.  Relaxed was not the word to describe me.  No.  This was an outright miracle!  My 13 year long medically documented infertility, blocked fallopian tubes, had been healed!  And nine months later: our second son was born.

Brothers first meeting!

We were in awe of God’s sovereignty.  His Love, Grace, and Mercy amazed us.  Even when I was faithless He was faithful – I just didn’t understand it, I just couldn’t see it.  But hindsight vision is 20/20 and I never again struggled like I did back then.  Even when trials came I had these miracles to remind me that God is faithful, like the Israelites had the 12 stones from the Jordan River as a testimony of what God had done.

After yet another military deployment Jonathan and I discussed having another child.  We didn’t even consider whether or not we could. We simply decided and nine months later a little girl joined our crew.

The boys welcome the little princess!

My family is a miracle.  The creative hand of God at work. I continue to live each day by His Grace, my Faith ever growing, and knowing that there is still so much more to come.

Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com

Infertility, IVF & Grace (part 1)

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I felt I was entitled to it.  I mean I am blessed right?  I have the favor of the Lord. I am the daughter of the King and He has promised his blessings and inheritance to me.  There is no reason why this wouldn’t work out in my favor.  I sought His wisdom before I started – no resistance was discerned, no indication that He was against the decision.  Prophetic words were given over and over that this was in my future.  I stood on that.  I stood on His promises.  I declared His Words.  I walked in faith.  I bathed it in scriptures.

Hope was high.

Everything in the natural seemed to be lined up in my favor.  I spent months of proclaiming, declaring and standing.  So when the news came that it didn’t work, I was shaken!

We had been married for about a year when my husband and I decided to have a baby.  After several unsuccessful months I decided to go in for fertility testing.  I had been tested years before and was documented to have infertility but I had hoped I was healed and that it had changed. When we didn’t get pregnant right away I suspected it hadn’t.  Testing confirmed my fears. For anyone who has wanted to get pregnant and couldn’t you’ll be familiar with the emotions of fear, anger and desperation that quickly assaulted my thoughts.

“I’m never going to have a family.”

“Why is this happening to me?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

“How come all these people who don’t want to have babies keep getting pregnant?”

“Why, God, why?”

“Will I ever have a baby?”

“Is there something I can do?”

After much discussion, research and prayer Jonathan and I felt God gave us the go ahead to pursue “alternative” methods to getting pregnant.  We saw the doctors, discussed all the options and due to my type of infertility pursued the only medical option we had: IVF (in vitro fertilization.)

Jonathan and I believe life begins at conception so we didn’t enter into this decision lightly.  The process of IVF means that life for our little ones would begin in a dish. The potential of there being way more lives then we planned on adding to our family had to be discussed.  We agreed that how ever many lives lived in that dish would be the number we would have.  If that meant we had 7+ children, then so be it.  We also made “embryo adoption” plans in our Wills for our little ones just in case once their lives began – ours unexpectedly ended.  We tried to foresee and cover all the moral obligations we could to protect and care for the lives of our children.

With Jonathan’s overseas deployment quickly approaching we pushed to get the ball rolling before he left.  Our hope was I would get pregnant and be nearing delivery when he returned to the United States.  It sounded easy.  Count these days, take these shots, have this procedure and BAM – you’re pregnant!

If only that were so.

Jonathan completed his part of the procedure and off he went to “the sandbox” as they call it.  My sister joined me for my procedures and Jonathan attended by phone.  They were able to extract nine eggs from me and placed them in a dish with Jonathan’s “little swimmers.”  And “ta da” nine little lives of our family began.  But on the third day of their young lives only four remained.  We grieved for the five but remained hopeful for the remaining embryos.  By day five these four remained strong ready for a continued chance to live.  The doctors said they couldn’t have looked better.  We decided to have two implanted – hoping for twins – and two frozen to join our family later.  Modern science is amazing!

After 20 or 30 minutes reclining in an office I had these two amazing lives within me.  It would be two weeks of waiting to confirm they were nestled warmly in my welcoming womb.  These two weeks were the longest most anxiety-filled weeks of the whole process.  I thought the shots and the procedures were the hard part – little was done to prepare me for that agonizing wait.  Unclear expectations added to the tension.

Two weeks passed.  Blood was drawn and hours later the dreadful call notifying me that I was not pregnant came.  I had to notify Jonathan of the disappointing news by phone.  Then I went back to my room and cried.  I didn’t understand what had happened.

I had planned for the trip, anticipated a great outcome.  I packed my bags, bought my ticket and boarded the train of my bright future.  I had mapped out my course; seeking the Lord’s wisdom all along the way.  The train departed the station and began to pick up speed.  I was on the way to my destiny when suddenly, somehow the train I thought I boarded changed course.  This new route did not seem to have my best interest in mind as it barreled down this unknown track!

What happened?  I couldn’t explain this.  This shouldn’t have happened.  I followed my negative thoughts from initial denial to shocked disappointment, from disillusionment to despair. 

After not being able to discern whether or not I was “fine”, I determined indeed I was NOT fine.  I found myself in bed, in the dark, sobbing.  I couldn’t figure out how I got here.  Following my normal tendency to take all responsibility onto myself I tried to find out where I went wrong.  Did I misunderstand?  Should we not have done this?  Did I allow the enemy to sabotage by not having enough faith in the promises of God?  Had I forgotten to repent of some self-imposed curse?  I was so angry for getting myself into this situation!  I was hurting.  I was angry.

Then I began thinking I wasn’t worthy of my planned destination.  Not qualified.   Not ready.  I had been labeled with “Less Than” – less than everyone else who booked and made the trip.  I thought, “God – what’s the deal?  I thought you were good!  I thought you loved me!  You promised me!  You said this was my destiny!  I did everything you expected of me!  What went wrong?”

I was exhausted – the tears overwhelmed me and my head was hurting from the pressure.  I decided that I couldn’t do this anymore – I couldn’t live my life this way.  I started to reason that I had it wrong all this time.  I thought, “Faith in God is a waste of time and effort.  It doesn’t work.”  I began to question if God and all my beliefs about God and Christianity was all in my head. I began to question everything.

As soon as I started down this path of thinking I became afraid.  Because while in the moment this felt safe and reasonable, when I projected into the future of living without belief in God and Jesus and faith, life looked even darker and uglier than it currently felt.  I knew I was in trouble and needed help.  Praying to God wasn’t working because all I could hear were my own reasonable thoughts or worse – silence –  which felt like confirmation.  So I called a trusted friend…but she didn’t answer the phone; adding the sense of aloneness to despair.  But only minutes later she called me back and I could barely speak from all the crying.

All I could say was, “I can’t do this anymore…”

“Do what?” she asked compassionately.

“Have Faith,” my voice choking on tears, “It’s too hard…and it doesn’t work!”

I felt like such a failure.  I was so angry and disappointed in myself because the test of my faith had come and I failed.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t persevere.  I couldn’t muster up the strength.  Years of being a Christian, a strong Christian, a leader, teacher, counselor, Bible school graduate and now licensed reverend all to come to the test and fail.

My good friend said many things; all with gentleness and wisdom.  She reassured me that it wasn’t the performance of my faith that obligates God to favorable action and that sometimes we just don’t know why these things happen.  Thankfully she didn’t offer me common cliché’s like “God has his perfect timing – Just be patient” or “All things were going to work for my good” or  that “I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and she didn’t try to reassure me that this was an opportunity for growth that later I would be able to minister from or tell me to “Just continue to pray it through.”

But she did tell me that I didn’t have to prove my faith right now.  That there were plenty of loved ones around me that were praying for me and can have the faith that I couldn’t have.  She suggested I didn’t have to do anything and that God had enough Grace for me in this moment.  She asked me if I could allow God’s Grace to be enough.  I suddenly had a picture of a great big featherbed, a featherbed of Grace, and all I had to do was fall into it. And then the pressure came off – and I thought, “Yes, I can do that.”  Faith seemed like so much work, so much pressure, but Grace – Grace didn’t require anything.  Trusting in Grace didn’t require me to proclaim scriptures, declare promises, or even walk in accordance with any stipulation that illustrated my beliefs.  Grace was something only God could do – it didn’t require anything of me.  Grace became the lens through which I could see God clearly again.  In the midst of despair, exhaustion and confusion Grace became the harnessing knot at the end of my rope and later would become the springboard for the rest of my life!

Of course this isn’t the end of the story my Bio page (along with most of my other posts) lets that cat out of the bag.  But the events that led to those amazing miracles is a story for another day.

Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com

I Don’t Look Like You

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I met this girl in my twenties that I thought was wonderful.  She dressed, acted and lived the way I wanted to live.  She seemed free and happy. Before that I met this girl in high school that I thought was terrific, she was popular, beautiful and carefree – she had the life I wanted to live. Later, I met this woman in church she had it all together, she was fashionable, confident, her children and well behaved and her husband adores her.  And I thought that’s the life I want to live.

Everyone has a unique part to play in the "Grand Symphony"

It’s truly exhausting modeling ourselves after what we want to be or even what we think we should be. No matter how much I tried to be like the friends or women I admired I:

  1. seemed to keep failing,
  2. was exhausted and
  3. still wasn’t ever content (even when I did pretty well at looking like them).

Setting goals and living your dreams are not going to meet your expectations if your goals and dreams are to look like someone else.  Even if that person is fabulous – you can’t ever be them!  The less we know ourselves the more our goals will be to look like someone we think is living successfully.  All in all this is not a bad thing.  It can be a great place to start if you don’t know where to begin.  Since you’re reading this now there’s no excuse to take the less effective more exhausting path.  There’s a better way.

We are not designed to be the same.  I don’t look like you.  Of course this is true in the natural, but I’m talking more about the part of us that lives forever.  That part is perfectly unique by design.  In church feeling like you can’t be yourself is a common problem because that environment often gives acceptance for sameness – they call it unity.  (Many great churches aren’t like this, of course!)

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But…

Stop right there.  Look at all the ones following the charge to maintain unity.

One body

One Spirit

One hope

One Lord

One fatih

One baptism

One God and Father of all

BUT!

Why the “but?”   Because in talking about all that one-ness the writer of the letter to the Ephesians is about to teach us that there is diversity in unity.  Unity is not sameness. He says:

…to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. Ephesians 4:3-7

We EACH have a been given “grace” as HE decided to portion it to us.  We didn’t all get the same stuff.  This “grace” has everything to do with our calling or destiny; what we were put on this Earth to be and do.   (Don’t take my word for it it’s in the Bible: Romans 12:3, Ephesians 3:2,7 & 8,  Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 3:10, Galatians 2:9.

This grace not only defines your destiny and reveals your true identity but also empowers you to live it!  Pretty amazing!

Even better news:  WE ALREADY HAVE IT!  Grace has been given to you.  It’s built into your design but it is hidden or rather covered like an old fashioned bride with a veil.  And similar to the eagerness of a groom to “unveil” his bride it is part of our life’s adventure to seek out this treasure. Trying to be like someone else is only copying someone else’s portion of grace and leaving your portion neglected.  Not only is this boring and ineffective (you aren’t designed for their grace so your doomed to fail at it) it’s depriving the world of your unique gifting.

The neglected drum. Let us not leave our part un-played.

We ENTER the body of Christ through grace, we are saved because of His goodness not our own good works.  We BECOME the body of Christ also by grace.  His grace empowers us to display the gift He has given us.  We have to set our sites on being who we are called to be and stop trying to look like someone else.  We need to stop being imitations.

In the post, Divine Design I wrote how each one of us was given a piece of God to magnify on the Earth.  This piece of His Glory is your grace.  And according to C.S. Lewis, millions and millions of us living 100% in our destiny would still be an inadequate demonstration of God on the Earth.  We needn’t fear that we need to be the same to be in unity.  If we do all look the same – we’re doing it wrong.  We aren’t all supposed to look like what man thinks God looks like.  We are supposed to look like the magnificent diversity that is God.  Unity isn’t sameness but rather wholeness.  Together we display the WHOLE image of God.  We are to live out the grace that He has given to us, doing what He has called us to do, reflecting that portion of Him on the Earth.

…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13

We become more like God the more we look at Him.  Because we see through a glass dimly, (I Cor 13:12) or said another way, because our vision is clouded; we can only reflect that of God which we can see clearly.  The closer we are to Him, the greater understanding of his character and his ways the more we are transformed into his likeness.  It’s not us learning about his traits and then making ourselves like Him.  Rather He transforms us from one form of glory to a greater form of glory.   As we gaze upon the Lord we become the mirror he is reflected in.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

I actually perfer the NASB version because the word picture is more accurate.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

We are the mirror!  We turn towards Him and He reflects His image in us.  He imprints a different image on each one of us and gives us a unique gift of His grace to display on the Earth.  We reflect this image of God by being changed to look like Him.  We get changed by looking at Him – not trying to act like Him.  This is a supernatural experience.  Although we have an active role it cannot be managed or controlled.  Just as the bride has to be vulnerable to her groom by removing her “veil” so we must come to Him in our most vulnerable state.  Once there we behold Him.  In those moments something happens. This is a supernatural so it’s difficult to describe but just try it – – and see what happens.  What he promises in the verse above is if we behold Him – then He transforms us into greater and greater versions of ourselves.  We can know who we are and what we are called to do and be.  Our destiny and our heart’s desires lie with the “Man” in the Mirror.

The Silence is Screaming

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We all know the story of Cain and Abel, the first murder in the Bible, jealousy, rage, and pride at it’s worst.  God came to Cain and asked,

“Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord said, “What have you done?  Listen! Your brothers blood cries out to me from the ground.” Genesis 4:9-10.

Cain killing Abel is a tragic story but what I want to focus on is God’s statement to Cain. This is a fascinating verse because we can learn so much about how we are created and the impact of our lives.  Hebrew, the original language of this text, is such a rich language. The word ‘blood’ in this verse is from a root word that literally means silent, be still, to make silent, die.

That which was silent was calling out.

God heard something from the silence of Abel. He says to Cain, “Listen to the silence of your brothers voice – the silence of the gift (*see footnote) I gave Abel is crying out to me.”  It’s as if when God created the Universe he gave everyone a beautiful part in the grandest symphony ever written. Abel’s life had a purposeful sound, he had a voice and the silence of that voice was like screaming to God.  The absence of his beautiful creation named Abel was a loud noise. And because Abel was dead not only was his silence screaming but every child and grandchild and great grandchild’s silence was screaming too.

We all have been give a voice, a sound, a part to play in the symphony.

Each one of us is created with purpose, a gift of Grace and Glory to spread upon the Earth. When a life is cut short, like Abel’s, the gift that was designed to impact the Earth is missing and the World will never be the same. Likewise, when we silence our own voice, if we hide the Grace and Glory we’ve been given, the absence of our gift is screaming. Our silence on the Earth is a deafening noise to Heaven. And until we start Being the Earth is less than it should be.

Often our voice is silent because we don’t know who we are or what we are called to do. Knowing ourselves is a key first step in walking out our destiny. If we don’t know our importance and what we are to be it’s impossible to live it.  Only in Jesus are we truly known. God is the only one who can see us perfectly.  On the Earth we have clouded vision; when we get to Heaven we will see perfectly as He sees.  For now we look to Him to help us see.  He knows us fully and as we look upon Him he reveals to us what He sees in us. It doesn’t hurt that He created us and so He knows us inside and out.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12

The more we gaze upon Jesus, the more we know Him, the more clearly we see ourselves. The more clearly we see ourselves the more we know the Grace we’ve been given and the Glory we are to shine upon the World around us.

Another reason we might be silent is fear; fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear that people won’t like us.  Ridding ourselves of fear requires us to know the love of God.  Perfect love casts out all fear. But along with knowing perfect love we must deconstruct the fortress of lies in our mind that contradict the Truth in us. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) These strongholds protect the lies we believe and they must be taken down for us to freely move forward in our destiny.

Do you want to stop your silence from screaming?

Do you need to find yourself, to know yourself, to see yourself more clearly?

Start now.  Start asking questions. Start praying. Start reading God’s word. Seek Truth. Ask for help.

God is faithful, He promises us that those who seek – find!

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.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Recommended reading and Footnotes:

The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallottan

The Lies We Believe by Dr Chris Thurman

Victorious Mindsets & Cracks in Our Foundation both by Steve Backlund

*I first heard the concept about the silence of Abel’s gift mentioned in Kris Vallottan’s sermon during the Prophetic Conference March 2004 at Bethel Church