Category Archives: Mission

Bloom Where You’re Planted

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“And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else.
Where you are right now is God’s place for you.
Live and obey and love and believe right there.”
1 Corinthians 7:17a (MSG)
 

In most parts of the world, a limb cut from a tree will not continue to grow and thrive. But in the fertile, tropical rain forest region of Central America, the growing conditions are so perfect that even limbs used as fence posts will sprout roots and produce new limbs!  Eventually these “Living Fences” begin to look like groves of trees, growing in perfect alignment.

In the same way, God wants to use your life right where you are planted, and He has specifically placed you where you are at this moment in time for a special reason. Don’t miss out on the great opportunities to serve Him right where you live! We often feel strapped to our life’s obligations, and we are so concerned about what we could be doing if we were someplace else, but you can do God’s work and have a tremendous impact on others in your current sphere of influence.  You are uniquely positioned to influence those around you in your home, your workplace, your community, your school, your team, your neighborhood, etc… You don’t have to be in full-time ministry or ship off to a foreign mission field to serve others.  Live out each day of your life as your ministry, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Ask God to open your eyes and show you new and creative ways to serve Him. Be like the “Living Fence,” and live and obey and love and believe right there ~ Bloom where you are planted!

Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him,
so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.
Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.
Colossians 2:6 – 7 (NLT)
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The Only Thing That Counts

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only thing that counts

Out of 66 books, 1188 chapters, and 31,175 verses in the Holy Bible, it all boils down to this:  “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”  Galatians 5:6b

Take a moment and allow these words to sink deep into your mind and your heart.  Meditate on their meaning and grasp the magnitude of their importance.  Essentially, this statement tells us that if we are NOT expressing our faith in God through our love for others, nothing else we are doing really matters. 

Wherever you find yourself in life, God has specifically placed you there for a unique purpose that only you can fulfill. In essence you are on a mission from God each and every day of your life to express your faith through acts of love. This expression of love can take many forms:  kindness, respect, appreciation, involvement, time commitment, sharing, patience, giving, caring, or friendship.  Whether you’re a business executive, clerk, teacher, nurse, care taker, house keeper, bus driver, waitress, stay-at-home-mom, retiree, grandparent, student, etc.., you are an integral part of the body of Christ.  Imagine the difference we could make in an untold number of lives if each of us went about our days expressing our faith through love.

You can be totally filled with spiritual lessons, perhaps you can even quote verse after verse from the Bible, but if you are not expressing your faith in Jesus Christ through your outpouring of love for others, nothing else matters.

Tape this verse to your bathroom mirror, next to your bed, or on the dashboard of your car so that you can start each day with one main focus concerning the only thing that counts.  In fact, this is such a short statement that you could easily memorize those eleven words and use them as a filter for  your thoughts and a framework for  your actions throughout each day.

Essentially the only thing that counts is a summation of Jesus’ response to the question, “Which is the most important of all the commandments?”  Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12:28 – 31)  Love God, and express that love to your neighbor…it’s that simple.

 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  James 1:22

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, Galatians 3:23

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Life’s Road Signs

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“Set up road signs;
   put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway,
   the road that you take…

Jeremiah 31:21
(NIV1984)

 

I was looking over my son’s shoulder as he diligently studied for his driver’s test. His thick DMV manual contains multiple pages of road signs, which he must understand before he begins learning how to navigate behind the wheel. I can tell from examining the well-worn pages of his book that he is taking this test seriously and wants to learn all that is required of him in order to pass this important test.

It’s too bad that we don’t have road signs which tell us how to accurately steer the course of or our lives. Sometimes we could use a bold “Do Not Enter” or “U Turn” sign to guide us in the right direction.

Even though we don’t have these physical signs lining our daily paths, we can receive guidance from our Heavenly Father through His Word. The Bible is our manual for living life. By reading it and constantly learning from it, we will gain the necessary wisdom to perceive God’s direction for our lives.

Psalm 119:105 tell us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” His word illuminates the direction we should take in our lives. As you read His Word, ask Him to reveal His instructions to you. Many examples from the Bible show us how great men and women of faith asked God to lead and guide them. Here are just a few:

  • “Direct my footsteps according to your word…” (Psalm 119:133)
  • “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” (Psalm 119: 125)
  • “Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees.” (Psalm 119: 135)
  • “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:4,5)

On a road trip, one wrong turn can cause big problems in your goal of reaching your destination. Similarly, seemingly small decisions can have a major impact in the course of your life. Your Heavenly Father holds the road map for your life. He has equipped you for a special purpose, and He will lovingly reveal His plan to you. If you ask God for His guidance, He is faithful to answer your prayers. His promises are true, and you can trust Him to provide clear instructions to His children. “Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for Him.” (Psalm 25: 12)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

Lean not to your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3: 5 – 8

God’s Calling

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“I will go before you
   and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
   and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
   riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
   the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”

Isaiah 45:2-4 (New International Version, ©2010)

 

Sometimes the “mission” God places upon our hearts seems humanly impossible. God might be prompting us to do something extraordinary, and we can think of many excuses in our limited minds why it can’t possibly work. The above verse is a powerful reminder of this truth:

When God designs your plans, nothing can stop His purposes from being accomplished.

If you are following in step with His will, He will go before you and level any “mountain” of impossibility ahead of you. He will break through barriers in our path which seemingly bring you to a dead end along your journey. When you are in the midst of a plan orchestrated by our Heavenly Father, prepare to be amazed. His ideas are not limited to human thinking. His power is limitless.

He can perform miracles.

When you are following His call upon your heart, remember that He has “summoned you by name.” He specifically chose you when He designed your particular calling. He knows everything about you, and He knows that you are uniquely qualified to fulfill the purpose of His grand plan. Obedience to His calling simply requires that you take a step of faith toward fulfilling His mission. With each step forward, you will begin to receive His “hidden treasures” and “riches stored in secret places.” These heavenly rewards are the unimaginable blessings which God wants to shower upon His children for their obedience.

So if you feel God calling you by name, follow His lead. The job He has planned just for you will have eternal rewards. Have confidence in His ability to fulfill His plans. He will be with you every step of the way.

Gifted

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Let Your Light Shine

"Let Your Light Shine" by cbcooksey

When someone has been given much,

Much will be required

in return;

And when someone has been entrusted with much,

Even more will be required.

Great gifts mean

Great responsibilities;

Greater Gifts,

Greater Responsibilities!

Luke 12:48

 

The Bible tells us that we are each uniquely equipped with gifts and talents.  These abilities are placed within us in order to fulfill God’s purposes for our lives.  Can you think of the capabilities that you possess and see them through the lens of God’s vision?  If we listen to God’s prompting, He will direct us in exactly the way He desires us to use our gifts.  The more we are blessed by Him, the more He requires of us.  The beauty of this is that the more we are obedient, the more His blessings will flow to us.  How have you used your gifts and talents for God’s glory lately?

Getting Your Hands Dirty

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“Getting your Hands Dirty”


cbrown.cooksey


40A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

41Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. Mark 1:40 – 42 NIV

Leprosy was an incurable, disabling skin disease which terrified people. In keeping with Jewish Law, lepers were considered unclean and were unable to participate in any religious or social activity. They were the ultimate outcasts of Jewish society. They were banned to live in leper colonies outside the main areas of the cities and were not allowed to mingle with the healthy population.

However, when Jesus saw this diseased, leprous man, he had compassion on him. Despite his visual appearance and all the dictates of Jewish law, Jesus reached out and TOUCHED this man with his hand of healing. This reaction went against every belief of all those people who were watching. Jesus looked beyond the disease and saw inside the man. In doing so, Jesus demonstrated a valuable example to his followers. The real value of a person is on the inside. Outward appearances of a person’s body may be deformed or diseased, but the person inside is no less valuable to God. No person is too disgusting or disfigured or diseased for God’s touch.

In a sense we have all been diseased and deformed by the ugliness and disfigurement of sin, and we could, therefore, be considered leprous in the eyes of God. Instead of looking away from us in disgust, God had compassion on all sinners when He sent His son, Jesus, who touched us with love and forgiveness and gave us the opportunity to be healed.

When is the last time you got your “hands dirty” in the name of Jesus? When your feel repulsed by someone, take a moment and think about how God feels about that person…and how he feels about you. Stop and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do in that same situation?”