2/10/16: Using Your Gifts?

•February 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Many people think being called to God’s service only includes being called to teach or preach. Not so. God’s call to service can be about the use any of our gifts. Take for example the craftsmen called upon to use their gifts in the area of art and design for the construction of the tabernacle. God is speaking in Exodus 31:3-6 and He tells Moses, “And I have filled him (Bezalel) with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab… and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you” (NKJ).

Are you an artist, an architect, a filmmaker, dancer, seamstress, tailor, or chef? Do you create poetry, play a musical instrument, interpret for the deaf, sing, or compose music? Notice in the verses above that the gifts were already resident in the people God called; He added His Spirit, His wisdom, His understanding, and His knowledge to their gifts and that’s when the gifts became consecrated to Him.

In God’s great love and grace, He gifts us. How about offering those gifts right back to Him by sacrificially allowing Him to tell us how He would have us use them? What an amazing thing it will be to watch as God’s Spirit ignites our gifts through us.

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at HSBN.tv. (Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)
  • Pick up a copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

 

 

 

2/9/16: Doing Anything Well?

•February 9, 2016 • 1 Comment

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At graduations, there’s always that kid who has all the asterisks behind her name in the program indicating how many honors she has received. She makes her way to the podium about ten times to pick up certificates for participation, leadership, and high achievement, not to mention the scholarship awards (some actual checks) she’s earned. By mid-program, each time a new accolade is announced, the audience mouths her name along with the presenter.

Green is not our color.

Unless that’s our child, we’re at least a little bit jealous. Yet, even as we sit stewing in the our-kid-could-have-done-that juices, we realize that Certificate-Girl did a lot of hard work to make it to this point. Honors and awards follow diligence.

As in the earth realm, so too in God’s economy. Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a man traveling in a far country who leaves his fortune in the hands of his servants to care for while he’s gone. Two of the servants take their master’s money (called talents in the New King James version of the Bible), put it to work, and double it by the time he returns. One servant hides his allotment, and upon his master’s return, hands him exactly what he was originally given. The master reprimands that guy, calling him lazy and wicked, snatches his talent away, and gives it to the first guy. The master tells the first two, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” Matthew 25:21 and 23 (NKJ).

God expects us to do something with the talents He’s given to us. Are we making the absolute most of all with which He has entrusted us? What will we have to give as an offering to Jesus when He returns? We want to hear Him say, “Well done,” but are we well-doing anything?

Be about the business of well-doing if you want to hear the Master say, “Well done.”

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at HSBN.tv. (Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)
  • Pick up a copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

2/8/16: What is Your Heart’s Desire?

•February 8, 2016 • 1 Comment

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While I was attending Emmanuel Community Church in Gardena, CA some years ago, my pastor, Pastor Frederick Holmes, asked me a question. He asked, “What do you want from life?” Without hesitation I answered, “I want my life to count.” That short conversation became a defining moment in my life wherein I had put into words the theme of my own existence, the thing that makes me “tick,” my heart’s desire.

It didn’t take much thought after those first six words to realize that my life could only have lasting worth as I bonded my desire for myself with God’s desires for me. I figure it this way: If I am following the Lord daily, whatever I do will be His desire for me to do, and the outcome will have lasting value that matters in the grand scheme of things. The ultimate result? My life will have counted. Vineyard’s praise song, Cry of my Heart, reflects what I mean. The chorus simply says:

It is the cry of my heart to follow You,

It is the cry of my heart to be close to You,

It is the cry of my heart to follow,

All of the days of my life.

What is your heart’s desire? Is it something God would have for you? Is it something that, if fulfilled, you could proudly lay at Jesus’ feet as an offering to Him? With the preceding thoughts in mind, The Psalmist’s prayer is also mine for you today: “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose” Psalm 20:4 (NKJ).

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at HSBN.tv. (Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)
  • Pick up a copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

 

 

2/5/16: Jesus’ Mission Statement

•February 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Both in business and in personal life, it is all the rage to formulate a mission statement. A mission statement provides clarity and focus to your life and business. It is a declaration of the needs that must be addressed, how the person or organization will address those needs, and what principles guide the work. It is an unambiguous announcement of purpose.

Jesus proclaimed His mission statement to us in two distinct verses in Luke and Matthew. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (NKJ). Matthew 9:12-13 says, “…Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick… For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (NKJ).

  • What were the needs to be addressed? People were sick and needed a physician; lost and needed to be found.
  • How would Jesus address those needs? He would seek and save the lost.
  • What principle guided the work? Sinners (the lost and the sick) were in need so He pointed them to the antidote of their lost-ness and illness – repentance.

Jesus knew and verbalized His mission. The success of His mission is the beginning of ours, but before we can launch fully into the mission God has for us, we must humble ourselves before Him. Matthew Henry’s Commentary says, “Christ came not with an expectation of succeeding among the righteous, those who conceit themselves so, and therefore will sooner be sick of their Saviour, than sick of their sins, but among the convinced humble sinners; to them Christ will come, for to them he will be welcome.”

Are we sick enough of our sins to make an appointment with the Great Physician, show up at the “office” found by worshipping at His feet, accept the diagnosis of our own sin-sickness, and take the prescription of repentance for our soul’s healing? If so, we can be assured that we are the ones for whom Christ came. His mission will be accomplished in us and can then be continued through us.

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at HSBN.tv. (Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)
  • Pick up a copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

 

 

2/4/16: Ten Down to Two

•February 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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In the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell, the animals decide to stage a mutiny against the humans and take over the farm because the humans treated them so badly. They came up with “7 Rules of the Farm” by which they all would live. However, some of the animals were not able to remember all the rules, so the animal-leaders reduced those rules to two that were the most important.

Jesus has done that for us when it comes to our Ten Commandments. Exodus chapter 20 lists The Big Ten:

  1. You shall have no other gods before me. (vs. 3)
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image…you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. (vss. 4 – 5)
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (vs. 7)
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (vs. 8)
  5. Honor your father and your mother. (vs. 12)
  6. You shall not murder. (vs. 13)
  7. You shall not commit adultery. (vs. 14)
  8. You shall not steal. (vs. 15)
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (vs. 16)
  10. You shall not covet…anything that is your neighbor’s. (vs.17)

Now this is a very concise list; there’s nothing hard at all about understanding it. In fact, when you think about it, God has made following Him pretty simple by breaking things down for us into these 10 simple rules. Still, by Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had made things so complicated that they thought it was a good idea to question Jesus about which Commandment was the greatest. Jesus answered them by saying:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJ).

Jesus broke the ten down to two, making following God even easier. You see, first, if we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, we won’t have any other gods before us, we won’t make graven images of Him, we won’t take His name in vain, and we’ll remember to keep His Sabbaths holy. In other words, our entire being will want to do nothing else but glorify Him. This, after all, is what we were created for in the first place, as it is written in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (KJV).

Second, if we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will honor our parents, and we won’t murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet.

With this reminder about the Ten Commandments (or the Two Commandments), it’s probably a good idea to check ourselves on the how-are-we-doing-as-believers meter. Let’s go down the list of Commandments and ask ourselves the hard questions relating to each. For example, ask, “Are there other gods in my life that I have placed as more important than the God of heaven? To what am I bowing my knees? How have I honored by father and mother (or their memory) today? From whom have I stolen? (Bootleg CD’s count here.) Etc.

By obeying the two, we obey the ten. Let’s get with it.

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at HSBN.tv. (Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)
  • Trouble copy 2  Boomerangs FrontCover  Unknown-4  Unknown  Unknown-1  Unknown-3 Unknown-2
  • Pick up a copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

 

 

 

 

2/3/16: Do It All

•February 3, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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One of the toughest things I have to do as a high school teacher is watch students fail. No matter how much I go over the material, insist that they actually do all of the reading and assignments, and warn against procrastination, some students simply don’t believe “fat meat is greasy.” Inevitably the end of the semester comes and enough things have been done incorrectly to warrant the failing grade. Through the tears comes the predictable question, “But what about the work I passed?” The answer: The work that needed to be successfully completed was not a surprise. It was all on the syllabus given out and explained the first day of class. The work you did not pass tainted the work you did pass. To pass the class, you needed to pass it all.

It’s a comfort to me as a teacher to see that the great Teacher faced the same question. In Matthew chapter 19, a man came to Jesus wondering what was necessary to “pass the class.” The guy asked, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus answered, “…if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” Matthew 19:16-17 (NKJ). The syllabus was clear, “Keep the commandments.” This guy came back just as my students do at the end of the semester, “He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’” Matthew 19:18a (NKJ).

What a silly question. What did the guy think Jesus meant when He said, “Keep the commandments”? Jesus meant, “Keep all of the commandments.” As you read on through verse 22, Jesus enumerated some of the commandments to him and the guy started to make the argument that he had “passed” in those classes. But when Jesus got to the issue of coveting, there was nothing more for guy to say. He failed in that area and he realized that his fail there had tainted his pass in the other areas. He walked away with a failing grade because he did not intend to get that one right.

James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (NIV). It’s time to stop making excuses for our sins and shortcomings. We can obey God’s word, and God has given us the syllabus to follow – the Bible – whereby we can successfully get it done. He’s also given us the means. Romans 8:3-4 states, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (NKJ).

We’re required to do it all. Thankfully for us, even though “doing it all” is impossible, Jesus’ righteousness has been credited to our account. As far as God’s concerned, we fulfill the requirements of the Law because He sees Jesus’ righteousness when He looks at us. Now, with Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Ghost as our power, we can live our lives day-to-day in obedience to the Spirit of God. The law of God is written in our hearts. We pass.

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at HSBN.tv. (Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)
  • Pick up a copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!

Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

2/2/16: Just Follow the Directions

•February 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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I watched my husband construct a nightstand for me. The thing came in a box in what looked to me like a million little pieces. James laid out the pieces, carefully comparing each one to the diagram. Then he did what lots of women say men won’t do: he followed the directions to put that piece of furniture together.

We read in Exodus 15 and 16 of the children of Israel as they embarked upon their new life after Egyptian bondage. Just three days after God’s amazing parting-of-the-Red-Sea miracle that completely freed them, we find them complaining about not having water to drink (15:22-24). Moses cried out to the Lord about this problem, and God gave them water. A month later, they’re complaining again, this time about being hungry. God comes through again, supplying them with quail and manna (16:13-15). All the people had to do for the food was collect it, just enough for each person per day. Then on the sixth day, they were to collect enough for two days so they wouldn’t have to work on the Sabbath. Why did some people try to save some anyway during the week? Why did some people still try to collect some on the Sabbath? They got the food they wanted; how hard was it to just follow the directions?

When we ask God to supply our needs and He does it, what do we then do with the provisions He gives? Are we done talking to God now that we have our stuff? Do we move from continuing to rely on Him to trusting our own instincts about how we should now manage the blessings? All that God gives us is a trust; we are simply guardians of the blessings He bestows. Yes we enjoy them, but that enjoyment is still to operate within His bounds.

When the people kept disobeying even after their needs were supplied, God asked Moses an incredulous question, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?” Exodus 16:28 (NKJ).

Because my husband followed the directions, the nightstand came out beautifully; all the pieces fit where they should have fitted and all the drawers slide as they should. It will be the same for us when we just follow God’s directions; all the pieces of our lives will fit as they should and we’ll function in our place in the Kingdom as we should.

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

Links you won’t want to miss: 

  • Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at HSBN.tv. (Stream current show or view past episodes anytime!)
  • Pick up a copies of Sharon’s books for yourself and as gifts for your family members and friends!
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Boomerangs Videolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

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