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Dumbing Down Blessings?

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There’s a nasty little habit that I’ve acquired over the years, and I’ve noticed that others are guilty of it.  It’s called “dumbing down,” and just in case you don’t know what it means, it’s when a person downplays his or her accomplishments, culture, or “smarts” in an attempt to either help people to understand something or just to help make them feel more comfortable.  For some reason, I’ve done it quite naturally.  Being around prideful, arrogant and boastful people is no fun and just downright annoying, aggravating, and infuriating.  People who think more than they should of themselves are plentiful.  So, when we attempt to appear humble by lessening ourselves to make others feel better, we also risk becoming equally distasteful.  Making self-deprecating comments and diminishing achievements, and just dumbing down things that God has blessed us with to make others comfortable can block opportunities to glorify God, encourage others and may even stifle our blessings.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Dumbing down subject matter to help others understand certain subject matter can be quite helpful.  If we’re not ashamed, most of us have probably at least flipped through one of the books in the For Dummies series.  (I have Potty Training for Dummies, which, by the way, did not help, and there are a couple of software books that apparently aren’t dumbed down enough for me.) 

On the other hand, the type of dumbing down I’m referring to is when we diminish ourselves to make others and ourselves feel comfortable and to fit in.  God hasn’t called us to a life of comfort.  He has called us to bring His name glorify. We can glorify Him when we testify about God’s goodness in our lives.  We glorify Him when we show our thankfulness for the blessings, just like we glorify Him when we go through trials. 

As long as we are bringing the glory to Him and not bragging or boasting in ourselves, we should tell how He’s blessed us!  How do we know what to say to whom?  It’s not complicated.  The Holy Spirit will guide us and prompt us with what to say and when (and to whom).  When we’re sensitive to His Spirit, we will know when to be quiet.  When I think of the ministry of Jesus, I think of how he used parables to help the people understand spiritual concepts.  He met the people where they were but never denied who He was or that He was the King.

The Sadducees and Pharisees had false humility.  They said long prayers and did a lot of religious rituals, but didn’t recognize the Living Word.  They looked like they were humble, but were quite the opposite.  Ultimately, they brought attention to themselves, not to God.

When God has brought us through so much, and He’s blessed us in all the ways He’s blessed us—when His Spirit prompts, we can’t be afraid to tell what He’s done for us.  We shouldn’t dumb down what God has done, but bring attention to it!  Some people will despise you for it.  Remember when David danced before the Lord and Michal despised him for doing so in 2 Samuel?  David didn’t let that stop him from giving God glory for the things He had done!  Some won’t like it, but some will continue to trust Him and be encouraged because of what He’s done for you! 

“Rejoice with those that do rejoice” (Romans 12:15a).

Rejoicing with you,

MaRita

 

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Stay in Your Lane, Please!

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I have to admit it. Drivers who don’t stay in their own lane really annoy me and at times, even make me angry—especially when my children are in the car.  Distracted or careless drivers jeopardize the safety and maybe even the sanity of other conscientious drivers. Just like a driver who weaves in and out of lanes with no regard for others, many Christians refuse to stay in their lane.  While no person’s physical life may be in danger, a Christian who doesn’t stay in his or her lane can cause spiritual calamity, possibly stunting spiritual growth for the some and maybe—just maybe even turbulence in the church body.

Unfortunately, I have some experience doing a thing or two in church that I wasn’t called to do.  For example, I remember singing solos, wanting to bless others with my voice.  One Sunday, the organist (my husband!) played in a higher key than I could sing in—I didn’t know what to do.  Like a novice, I made every ugly face I could make, trying to signal to him that something was wrong while I struggled through the song.  Needless to say, it was good Sunday entertainment, but people probably weren’t blessed.  I am a good, solid choir member, not a soloist.

Part of becoming spiritually mature is recognizing that just because you want to do it, doesn’t mean that you are called to do it.  Just like that distracted driver who by thinking only of himself risks others’ safety, a person operating in the church body, determined to do things out of his or her own desires instead of obeying God can wreak havoc in the church.

We have a responsibility to be fruit-bearing.  Sometimes, we don’t know our calling, and it may take prayer, time in His Word, and trying a thing or two.  One way that we know our calling is that even if not at first—eventually we will bear fruit.   We will draw others to Christ because we’re doing what God has called us to do.

Would I still love to wake up one morning and be able to sing like a bird?  Yes!  However, God has given me something better to do for Him.  It’s what He has called me to do! And guess what?  I have so much to do every single day to work on perfecting what He’s given me that I don’t have the time, energy or desire to envy others who have the gifts I admire.  I marvel at God’s goodness, secure and happy that He has shown me where I fit.

Love, joy, and so much peace and joy are just some of the wonderful by-products of doing what He’s called you to do.  I don’t struggle with jealousy—even with others who have the same calling for many reasons but one is because we do it each in our very own way.  When younger people tell me that God has called them to do the same thing, I do, I always try to encourage and motivate them to do more, go further, than what I did if that’s what God is impressing in their spirit.  The sky is the limit when we are doing what we’re called to do, and yes, there is nothing better than fulfilling our God-given purpose!

Some in the church body who aren’t active in ministry might not even want to bother working an area that could potentially be their gift if some are not truly operating in their gift.  We can actually repel people from us when we aren’t doing what we’re supposed to do.

As we strive to walk with Him and live for Him, let’s constantly examine ourselves, making sure that what we do is not for ourselves but to uplift and bring glory to Him.

Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

–Galatians 5:26

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.  –II Thessalonians 6:11

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  –Ephesians 4:1

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Overcoming Rejection

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Today I received not one, but two rejection letters in totally different areas.  I’d like to say that I took it like a soldier, but initially, I felt sad, frustrated, and a little defeated.  Rejection can be a painful thing—no matter what.  When you’ve given your all to something or someone and it’s just not measuring up to whatever standard that individual has set, it can be a bit unnerving or even downright devastating for the one being rejected.

I have been asking God to show me what He wants me to learn from the rejection and how He wants me to proceed—if He does at all.  While I was praying, I remembered that the pastor had said, not too long ago, not to be surprised by rejection, but to endure, persevere and keep pressing.  Most importantly, I began to recall what the Bible has to say about rejection, and I believe there is a way that we should respond to it.

First, we need to accept that we will encounter rejection at one point or another.  We can’t be fooled into thinking that if we do all the right things we won’t be rejected.  Remember all that happened to Joseph?  He shared his dream with his brothers and they hated him more than they had before and threw Joseph into a pit, where he was sold into slavery!  It had to hurt Joseph to be rejected by his own brothers, yet God’s plan was not thwarted by their attempts to kill his dream.  In fact, their scheming catapulted Joseph to reach his God-given destiny, making his dream a reality!

Second, we have to make sure that what we are striving for is in line with God’s will and His Word.  If we attempt to do things out of God’s will, way, and even timing, we will experience utter rejection and/or chaos.  Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”  When we make the choice to commit all our hands find to do to glorify Him, He will bring that thing to fruition!

Once we know that the Lord has instructed us on what to do, we must have faith that though the vision tarries, it will come—we just have to wait (Habakkuk 2:3).  Lamentations 3:31-33 reads, “For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”  My interpretation of this simply is that he will not allow us to suffer forever; He loves us.  As believers, He does not allow us to experience rejection or suffering for no reason, and one reason is that He is or will be glorified through whatever rejection (heartache, pain, suffering, etc.) we have to go through.

Some are dealing with rejection from a parent or loved one.  Even with the magnitude of this type of pain, Psalm 66:20 reminds us, “Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!”

There is no type of rejection we can experience that Jesus hasn’t already had.  Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”  Jesus gave his life for people who not only didn’t recognize Him as their Savior, but also put him to death.

My heart aches for those who have been rejected by people they love, but I pray that if that’s you, you understand that he knows and He cares.  He can fill that empty space in your heart.  Stay close to God and immerse yourself in His Word, remembering that “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19).

We can trust that He will deliver us from our trials, and we can safely cast all of our cares on Him; He cares for us.  He will supply ALL of our needs, whether we need finances, jobs, spouses acceptance, or anything else.  He is our Go-To God, and He can handle our heartbreak from rejection, but freely provides healing with the balm of His Word!

Through His Holy Spirit, I pray that God will enlighten you with His divine plan for your life.  With that revelation and acceptance, I pray that you don’t allow rejection, including subtle seemingly inconspicuous dismissals, blind you from seeing your vision clearly and obtaining ALL God has for you!

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

                                                                                                            Habakkuk 2:3