Shame RX: The measure of a gift is the heart of the giver, not the gift itself.
1 Peter 4:10
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
My kids like to tease me about some of the gifts I give them. They know my heart is to bless them, and I seek to know them well enough to get what they desire, but sometimes this bargain hunting momma can’t help it and can’t pass up a good deal. Let’s just say that some of the gifts I have given *might* not have been appreciated. Like the “momma jeans” I bought one of my precious girls. Designated as momma jeans because they um, lacked style.
Have you ever felt the pressure building as the time comes for the gift you have given to be opened—you wonder . . . will it be enough?
Enough for what?!
Enough for the recipient? Enough for the bystanders watching? Enough for the giver? And who determines whether a gift is “enough” and how is a gift is rated?
Shame. Again. Goodness. Just the act of giving is an act of grace and kindness. There should be no shame there. But shame lurks wherever there is an audience . . . unless we have stopped giving the audience that power to hold shame over our heads.
The measure of a gift is the heart of the giver, not the gift itself. When we give, we don’t do it for the audience, or at least I hope we don’t. We do it from a motivation of love, generosity, and thoughtfulness. We can let go of man’s opinion of our gift when we keep in focus our intention in the giving of the gift.
It is so sweet to remember that we are merely stewards. Everything we have was given to us and we get to take what we have been given and share it with others. How cool is that? May we do so without shame. How people respond to a gift does not determine its value. In all we do, may we give for the glory of God!
Shame Off You this Christmas, friends!
Matthew 1:21 (NIV)
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Christmas can be a hectic time, but we don’t have to let the culture around us dictate how we celebrate Christmas. As we celebrate the Advent season, this week we focus on hope. The hopes of this world die, but our Savior came and lives to give us a hope that never fails. Listen in as we unpack what this hope brings us that was revealed with the birth of Christ.
Order Hope Reinvented today!
Acts 17:27-28 (NLT)
“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
We were made for another world and have lost our identity. But God has a secret . . . our identities can be found again.
Between 6,000 and 7,000 years ago a decision was made to leave perfection, to leave a God who loved us and to leave an identity in Him. As time went on, God’s people pursued idol after idol trying to fix the desperate need in their souls to find their identity again.
And today people are still on a search for this sense of completeness. Lost in a world with seemingly never-ending options, none of it fulfills us because our Designer made us for Himself, not for temporary things that perish. And the idols and fake identities we choose don’t satisfy. They are merely creations themselves from fallen man.
Two thousand years ago a baby was born, a God-man, to save our souls and restore what had been lost in the Garden. This baby came to give us an identity in Him that we forfeited when we opted for a fallen, broken identity instead.
Those who had ears to hear and eyes to see understood that they could not save themselves and that no identity and nothing in this world could. Still, many did not accept this free gift of salvation and continued the futile search for life in nonliving things, or in people, relationships, achievements, roles, positions to fill this ache in their souls.
And here we are today. Nothing new underneath the sun. Maybe a little more updated, but the struggle is the same. Man searches to be his own God, to find his identity apart from God, and yet he was made in the image of God.
We don’t recognize that the identity theft on the rise today that we bemoan is also happening to our souls. An identity theft that reaches further than our wallet, to our souls. That place where man tries to find that place of peace and fulfillment apart from His Creator.
Still, our Savior came and He is coming again. Will we see what He accomplished in the Nativity? What His birth did for us and how it relates to our identity?
The enemy of our souls is the author of confusion. If he can confuse our identity, we remain preoccupied with self and miss out on a relationship with God and His purposes for our life. Understanding our identity is important. We need to understand who and whose we are to live a fruitful life in Christ. Confusion happens when we don’t have a right understanding of our identity in Christ.
Identity confusion is even causing people to try and choose their identity. Some are confused about their gender, something that truly there is no confusion about. God made two genders. No in between, no confusion:
Genesis 1:27 ESV,
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
While others try to choose an identity from another race or another age. This is foolishness. God made us in His identity, in His image. We are children of God, if we have accepted His free gift:
John 1:12 (ESV)
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Made in His image, this image was broken because of the sins of Adam and Eve:
Genesis 5:1-3 (ESV)
“This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”
But the birth of Christ restores what sin took away. Christ is the second Adam, sinless, who lived a sinless life so He could pay for our sins and then give us back our rightful identity as a child of God, once again.
1 Corinthians 15:22 (NLT)
“Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.”
2 Chronicles 16:9
“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”
God sees you. God sees everything, but He especially sees you. And me. Nothing is hidden from His view. Yeah, that, too. He knows your struggles, your burdens, your discouragement. And He knows if you are committed to following Him.
So, we are kind of exposed then, right? But God is not searching us out to condemn us. How beautiful is that? He wants to strengthen us. To give encouragement to the weary.
Do you need strength today, friends?
Does anyone feel weak?
It might be a weakness to be disciplined in your life. You just can’t help yourself and that chocolate is calling your name . . . or you don’t want to exercise. I get it. Taming this flesh is SOOO hard.
Or maybe you are sick and wonder if you will ever be able to get your health back . . .
Or you find yourself so discouraged, you don’t see how you can overcome.
God meets us at all of these places. It might be a whimper—that is all we can utter. It’s enough. Cry out to the One Who wants to give you the strength that you need. Because here is the surprise:
When we are weak, we are strong. Why? Because we stop trying to rely on our own strength and recognize our need for God.
And, as Philippians 4:13 says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
1 Corinthians 16:9
“There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.”
Full of promise and potential pain. Do we dare knock?
Knocking on the proverbial door again with a message burning in my soul, when the doors are closed, I can somehow begin to question my worth. My calling. 𝑴𝒚 . . .
Oh. There’s that word. 𝑴𝒚 oh 𝒎𝒚. Maybe those open or closed doors are not about my gratification as much as they about being faithful to follow God through any door, with joy.
In this life, we knock on doors as we seek to understand the LORD’s direction. And sometimes we really want some doors to open and they don’t.
As much as it hurts, a closed door is an answer. It is not the end. It is an answer to the next direction. But oh how my soul hurts at closure that I did not want. How about you?
Sometimes we can be so discouraged with that closed door that we do not see another one opening.
In the midst of what seems like rejection is a pivot—another direction to go in that is in the will of God. The best place to be. And there are such sweet reminders my heart desperately needs when I stand outside the door and knock, knock, knock:
• Be content with the provision from God. He has given exactly what He intended.
• God’s favor cannot be earned. It is freely given by an all-knowing God.
• I don’t want to strive for what is not mine.
• I don’t want to strive for favor, just obedience and faithfulness and trust the results to Him.
• God is good and places us exactly where we are, for His glory, not ours.
• The motivation for favor cannot be about us. Any door I walk through is for His glory. I am just a servant, knocking on doors to see where He leads.
• I don’t want to love the telling of the message more than the message and the One Who gave the message.
• May His words soak in deeply before I ever share them.
• We get to tell His story, yes, we get to tell. But may our delight be in Jesus above all else.
Don’t regret closed doors. It might be the mercy and grace of God to not give you what you want. The timing could be wrong or He might want to bless us in a greater way so His message can reach somewhere else. Where one door closes, another opens. Will we perceive it?
Numbers 11:29, “ But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them all!””
Ever felt like others might be jealous of you? Or maybe some are even jealous for you? Ah, the strivings of man.
I love Moses’ heart in this passage. His words are certainly in line with what God said about him in Numbers 12:3, “Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.”
Joshua had reported about two men who were prophesying and Joshua told Moses to make them stop. Wow. Jealousy can blind us.
Sometimes we can envy others for their success or feel like they are in our “territory”. Or vice versa. Not a fun filling to be envied or to envy at all. In this verse above, Moses tells Joshua, son of Nun, not to be jealous for his sake. Some key truths we can remember when we are jealous of someone else’s portion or worried that they might want to work in “our space”:
✅ There’s enough for everyone to have a piece of the pie in God’s kingdom.
✅Jealousy is not from God. Don’t feed it or listen to it.
✅Have a Kingdom mentality – root for others and enjoy the gifts that God has given to them.
✅Our gifts are not about us. We don’t deserve the glory – God does.
✅Be grateful for your portion and don’t crave your neighbor’s blessings. They won’t fit you. God knows what you need and what is best.
Guys, when the green monster comes out, ain’t nobody happy. There is such joy to be found with contentment in God’s plan and portion for our lives.
May God cause us all to flourish in our callings in Him. Serve Him! He is worthy! And the greatest joy is found in fulfilling His purpose for our lives! Don’t envy someone else’s portion – just be grateful that we get to serve Him at all and marvel at what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of others.