Feeling God’s Pleasure

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.

Eric Liddell

If you’re old enough, you may remember this statement from the movie, Chariots of Fire.  It is the true life story of Eric Liddell, and Olympic runner who went on to become a missionary and teacher in China.

When I think about spiritual gifts, my mind always goes to this quote, because I believe that God made us in a certain way, with an aptitude and ability to do certain things well, and when we discover that “sweet spot” for serving, we do indeed feel His pleasure.  There is no better feeling in the world because in that moment we become our true and authentic self, the person God meant us to be.  It’s a taste of heaven on earth.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[ says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives

and gave gifts to his people.”  Ephesians 4:7-8

God Himself gave us a purpose and He gave us the spiritual gifts needed to accomplish it.  Our job is to align our life with God’s desire for us.  Only there will we find true freedom and joy.  Will we be able to do this perfectly?  No way!  However, through prayer, through a realistic assessment of our gits and talents and through His grace, we can come closer day by day.

As spiritual gifts coordinator for St. Paul’s, I’m hoping to help others, one step at a time, to discover their gifts and then put them to use.  This excites me because one of my prominent gifts is encouragement.  God made me to encourage others in their walk of faith.  Here’s the definition of the gift of encouragement:

ENCOURAGEMENT:  The gift of encouragement is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement and counsel to other members of the Body in such a way that they feel helped and healed. Contributes: Affirmation.

There are so many ways to use the gift of encouragement.  I hope my writing and this blog encourages others;  when I teach Adult Sunday School, I hope to encourage our class to not only learn about God’s Word, but apply it to their lives;  when I send a card or note, my desire is for it to encourage the receiver.

Maybe encouragement is your gift as well.  If so, how have you used it?  I’d like to hear more.

 

 

 

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What Turns You On?

Eric Liddell,  the famous Olympic runner portrayed in the movie “Chariots of Fire” once said, “God made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”  If, like Kate, you are wondering how to spend your time, look toward your God-given talents and gifts, and look for your passion.  When do you get the feeling, “this is what I was meant to do?”

A couple of my blogging sisters call me “the blogoholic”.  They say I am obsessed with our blog.  I don’t think that’s really true, but right now it is my passion.  It doesn’t feel like work to write a post practically every day.  I get a charge out of every comment and like.  I get an even bigger charge when I find a new writer to join us,  learn something new about technology, or when someone else shares a post.  Writing is a talent, and encouragement is one of my spiritual gifts–being the chief blogger combines both and I love it.

My dear friend, Nancy is a teacher.  She once told me that teaching is not just a job for her–if she couldn’t get paid for it, she would teach anyway.   She would teach Sunday School, or Bible Study, or join the Literacy Council and teach reading.  Teaching is her passion.

Beth Ann, one of the lady bloggers, is a musician.  The best times of her life have been spent making music.  She sings in the choir, she plays guitar for Via de Cristo weekends and serves on the Via de Cristo Board as the head musician.  Music touches her in a special way.  It’s her passion.

Michele, another Lutheran Lady, loves people and loves to witness.  She proclaims her Christian faith “loud and proud.”  It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve done, Michele wants to be your friend and introduce you to her best friend, Jesus.  It’s her passion.

So think about your life.  What are the things that make you feel fulfilled?  When do you get that “click” that means, I was created for this?  If you became independently wealthy and didn’t need to work, how would you spend your time and money?  What energizes you?  What turns you on?  I want to hear from our readers and bloggers!

“Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.”  Romans 12:11

 

 

Forgiving in Unforgiving Circumstances

While traveling to and from the AFLC conference in Wisconsin, I had a lot of time to read in the car.  One of the books I finished was For The Glory: Erick Liddell’s Journey From Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by Duncan Hamilton.

Because of the movie, Chariots of Fire, many people, like me, know that Eric Liddell was an Olympic champion who refused to run on Sunday because of his faith.  Maybe they even remember that after the Olympics he became a missionary to China.  However, there is a “rest of the story” that is equally inspiring:  Eric died in a prisoner of war camp because he was not evacuated from China before the Japanese overran the area where he was serving (the rest of his family had been sent back to Canada).

Here is an excerpt from book’s prologue:

In the beginning, the camp was filthy and unsanitary, the pathways strewn with debris and the living quarters squalid.  ..There were verbal squabbles, sometimes flaring into physical fights, over the meager portions at mealtimes and also the question of who was in front of whom in the line to receive them.  There were disagreements, also frequently violent, over privacy and personal habits and hygiene as well as perceived idleness, selfishness and pilfering.

Liddell stood out as being different.

… his forbearance was remarkable.  No one could recall a single act of envy, pettiness, hubris or self-aggrandizement from him.  He bad mouthed nobody.  He didn’t bicker. …Every night, after studying the Bible, he prayed…He did not discriminate.  He prayed for everyone, even for his Japanese guards.

The verdict of the author:  “His heroism was to be utterly forgiving in the most unforgiving of circumstances.”  I would encourage everyone to read this book about a modern hero of the faith, and learn how forgiveness can change an unforgiving environment.