September 1, 2011

Your Lines

Tuesday night bible study was amazing this week. At first glance it appears to be basic stuff, but the more I think about it, the more hugged and convicted I feel. I really want to share it with you because I think we all need a hug and some conviction now and then, right? :-) I'm not even going to begin to try and put it like the teacher did. If I attempted that this post would be called: Bludgeoned Plagiarism. I think I'll just tell you what I heard. ( that's better than plagiarism, right?) This could be over-long, but please, please take some time and read it. Not because of what the Lord showed me, but because He might want to say something to you. (please remember, I didn't come up with any of this! It's what I heard. I'm not a teacher-I'm just sharing what was said.)

The lesson started out with the parable of the talents. In case you're not familiar with the story I'll share it with you:

"For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' Matt. 25:14-29

The teacher of this study comes at life with the belief that God is sovereign over every tiny detail of our lives. That everything we experience comes from Him and makes us who we are. Whether you believe that or not, could you just pretend, for the few minutes you're here, that that's what you believe also? Thanks. :-)

OK-moving right along. After reading those verses you might be thinking, "Hm. A talent in bible terms was about 1000.00$. No one has ever handed me 5000.00$, or 2000.00$ or even 1000.00 bucks to see what I would do with it...." But you'd be wrong. According to the lesson, we've all been given talents. Every person on the planet. Our talents are our lives. Our experiences, our backgrounds, our gifts, etc. All the things that have flowed in, around and over you and make you who you are are your talents.

Can you go get a piece of scrap paper and draw a large rectangle on it? Then, write these on each of the 4 sides:
on the top side write:
Intimacy with God (really focus on the word "iintimacy" here. You know what that means.

On the left side:
Our Past
("past" in this instance means the painful things that have happened to you. Hurts, rejection, sexual abuse, emotional or physical abuse...things that make you cringe and that you wish weren't there. The things you want to forget and often ignore.)
God has allowed those things to happen to you for a reason. Each thing has been filtered through His fingers. Think about Job. Satan couldn't do a bloody thing to him without God's permission. God wanted those things to happen to Job for a reason and the things that have happened to us are for a purpose as well. God promises in Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purposee.

On the bottom side:
Life Experiences
(this is stuff like where you were born, your ethnic background, your education, your work experience, the hard things you've gone through like infertility, singleness, being poor etc.)

On the right side:
Our spiritual gifts
(personally, I'm still trying to figure out what mine is/are)

These things are your boundary lines. They make up who you are. Look at your rectangle again. Do you pay attention to each side? Are you living in intimacy with God? Are you using the gifts He's given you? Do you ask Him to use your painful past and your life experiences to benefit others? Or are you ignoring any or all of those? If you are ignoring any one of them there's someone else around who isn't. Satan. The devil. Wormwood. He is just longing for you to ignore those boundary lines so he can stand there. If you're not living in intimacy with God you'll be like a kite without a tail, floating pell mell all over the place in confusion. He wants to take your past and your life experiences and tell you those things were not a part of God's plan. That God wasn't there, doesn't love you and He's clueless....

But, God gave you your past and your gifts and your life experiences. He wants to use those things in your life to benefit others, bring glory to Himself and good to you. One of the best things I ever did was write out the story of my early childhood to the place where I met Jesus. My past is not nearly as horrible as what other people have experienced, but it was painful. But, by writing it down I was able to see God's fingerprints all over it. I could see Him carrying me and loving me when I thought I was alone. And it's given me compassion for others, humility, and an understanding of how people feel who have been rejected and ignored.

When you claim your past and your life experiences and ask God to use them, Satan is defeated. He can no longer lie to you about God's love and His character. When you give to others out of your pain it gives glory to God. And in the end, if we love Him that's what we want, isn't it? His glory? We need to live like not one single thing we've gone through is in vain. Examine your life and look for Him. You'll see Him there if you look for Him. And then think about this. Think about your boundary lines and how God is using them in your life to bring Glory to Himself, to give to those around you, and to bring good to you.

Then think about Romans 8:28 again.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purposee.

Then you'll be able to say with David in Psalm 16:6

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

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