The gym at NewSpring Church during Judgement House 2013, Wichita, KS

How something small can change the world

Finishing projects makes me happy, whether it’s washing a load of laundry or dishes or a writing 150,000 word novel. Granted, I don’t like to wash dishes, but I like to see that the dishes are done. And there’s a great sense of accomplishment after they’re finished.

But have you ever done something that succeeded beyond your expectations? Have you ever completed a project that made a difference far beyond what you had planned?

Yes, sometimes success is a result of our hard work. Our hard work certainly contributes to it. But there are other times in life (I’ve found that it’s most times in my life) that my success has less to do with how hard I’ve worked and more to do with how God chooses to use the work I’ve done.

The gym at NewSpring Church during Judgement House 2013, Wichita, KS

The gym at NewSpring Church during Judgement House 2013, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Ephesians 3:20.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

If you’re a Christ-follower, everything you do can have a purpose. Everything you do for other people, no matter how small, can grow to become something God can use to change a life. And that’s not something that happens on its own or because of you; it’s God working through you that makes the difference.

We don’t have the power on our own to change anything, to accomplish anything of great significance, to heal the hurting or the find the lost. All of that is outside the realm of our ability, but God does it through us every day. With God, those small acts of kindness become big heart-changing victories. With God, the tiniest deed done in His name can endure for a lifetime.

How often do we thank Him for that? How often do we recognize Him as the one who makes the difference?

This blog is a great example. It started with me trying to get focused in the mornings, but what it has grown into is a source of encouragement for hundreds and hundreds of people. Yes, I get up and write it. Yes, I do the work behind it. But all I’m doing is transferring my heart and my thoughts onto a blog post; God is the one who takes those words and uses them to touch hearts.

I didn’t ask Him to do it, either, and I certainly didn’t expect it. But as January begins in a couple of weeks, I will mark the beginning of my fourth year of daily devotional writing. This year I published my second devotional book, and a couple of new followers tag along after this blog every month. It’s amazing!

So what are you doing today that God could use to change the world? Whatever it is, if you trust it to God, He will make it bigger and more effective than you can imagine. No act is too small that He can’t use it. No person is too insignificant that God can’t take their talents and use them to bless people.

So dream big and don’t be afraid to do something for God. Believe me, He can take your tiny little achievements and use them to influence people for ages and ages to come.

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Sunflower at Safe Haven Farm - Haven, KS

Superabundant

Are you facing a task that’s too big for you? Maybe work is too stressful. Maybe you have a baby on the way. Maybe the finances just aren’t coming. Maybe you’re in a position where you are the person who will lead someone to Christ or push them away from Him. Whatever it is, the responsibility just feels overwhelming, like you can’t ever get ahead, like every day is just another opportunity to get run over.

It’s moments like those, the stressful, overwhelming, agonizing moments, where we need to remember that we’re not on our own down here. And though we have responsibilities, God never has expected us to face them by ourselves or in our own power.

Sunflower at Safe Haven Farm - Haven, KS

Sunflower at Safe Haven Farm – Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Ephesians 3:20.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

I know I have more responsibility now than I ever did when I was younger. I have more on my shoulders now than I ever dreamed I could have. And at first, it was exciting. I mean, wow! To be my age (for all my grouching, I know I’m not old) and to have the responsibilities I do? That’s awesome! A real honor.

But once the newness wears off, once the wonder and the excitement fades away, responsibilities can become a weight around your neck. And there are days when it’s just too heavy. The weight of it pulls me down and makes my feet drag, and before I know it, I want nothing more than for these responsibilities to go away. What I once rejoiced about, now I loathe.

Is that the way it’s supposed to be? Talk to other Christians, and that seems to be the case. But is it right?

I believe that if you’re called to do something, you should do it. But it’s rare that God is going to ask you to do something that is outside your gift. So if you know 100% that you aren’t gifted with facts and figures, it’s unlikely that God is going to call you to be an accountant. Not unheard of, and if He does, He’ll have a reason for it and He’ll give you what you need to succeed. But generally speaking, He won’t ask you to serve Him outside what He has gifted you for.

But whether you are serving within your gift our outside of it, we all need to remember that doing things on our own will wear us out. Carrying the load by ourselves will exhaust us and discourage us. Because it is too much to carry on our own.

That’s why we have God. If you believe in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit inside you. God is with you, in you, working in your heart, working in your life, helping you grow closer to God every day that you seek Him.

Do you feel like giving up? And it’s a responsibility that God has given you? Don’t give up. Just ask God to help you carry it. If you feel like giving up the task that God has given you, maybe you’re trying to carry it by yourself too much. Because even if the task He’s given you is exactly what you were created to do, you still can’t do it all by yourself. You need to ask Him for help.

This is where I get caught. I’m not good at asking for help. I trudge along under my heavy burden of responsibility and refuse to ask anyone for help. I don’t want to seem weak. I don’t want to seem as though I don’t have enough faith. And that is nothing but pride.

We all need help, and God can do anything. He still does miracles, even today.

Today’s verse says that He is able to do anything, to accomplish “infinitely more” than anyone alive can imagine. This is the NLT version, but I love how the Amplified Version puts this. The Amplified Version says that He is able to do “superabundantly far over and above” what we can dream. Superabundantly.

Abundant isn’t good enough. It has to be superabundant.

Do we realize that? Do we comprehend the power we have at our fingertips? The strength? The endurance? The miracles that God can do through us? It’s so easy to forget because we get trapped in our day-to-day grind, but God is above all of that.

God has given each of us a goal to accomplish. And while we might be able to do some of it on our own, we won’t be able to do it “superabundantly” until we ask Him to help us. So if you’re discouraged this morning with a load that’s weighed you down, let it go. Ask God to help carry it, and He will. And not only will you find that it weighs less, you’ll find the joy you had when you first picked it up.

Moon with no detail

Imagine the impossible

What would it have been like to live in the Middle Ages? When there was no education and very little accurate knowledge? Even the sciences of the time were less like science and more like something out of a fairy tale, which is probably why the mortality rate was so high. I have always found it fascinating as I’ve studied history that Man seems to lay out all the possibilities on the table and tell God what He is capable of doing.
 
That hasn’t changed, not in the thousands of years of human history. Even today, we present our meager understanding of the origins of the universe, displaying our knowledge like a trophy, and shove it in God’s face, telling Him that there is only one way He could have created everything. Because there’s only one way we can understand it.
 
But is God truly limited by our understanding?
 
Moon with no detail

Moon with no detail - Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Ephesians 3:20.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

I have a really crazy imagination. It’s always going at full speed. It never slows down, and I’m rarely ever bored because my head is always thinking up random things. But as crazy and vivid as my imagination is, even I tend to put God in a box.

I look at the aspects of my life and my talents and my situation and my circumstances, and I tell God what He can and can’t do with me. Is that right? Is God stuck with me, with someone who can’t succeed at the one thing she’s tried to accomplish all her life? And if I don’t understand why I can’t accomplish my g0als, does that mean I’ll never accomplish them?

Of course not.

I think we try to put God in a box because it makes us feel like we’re in control. It makes us feel like we’ve got a handle on our situation. It’s an illusion if we feel that way, because we don’t have control over anything. And the truth is, if God wants to do something miraculous in our lives, He’ll do it, whether we understand it or not.

I went outside last night and took pictures of the full moon. I’m still pretty new with photography so I couldn’t get my settings right to take a picture of the Moon with details. It was super clear, but the only shots I could get painted it as a ball of light in a black sky. And even after I’d tried over and over again, I kept getting the same image. And by that time, my hands were numb and there was something wandering around in the orchard that wasn’t a cat, and I didn’t much feel like getting sprayed by the skunks that have been hanging out on my property. So I went inside.

But even our understanding of the Moon changed when we got close to it. People used to think it was made of cheese. People used to think it had lakes. People used to think all sorts of crazy things. And then we got up there, and although it’s spectacular, not much of what anyone expected was true. And it even has a side that no one can see.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to postulate things that could be or might be. But maybe we shouldn’t be so certain about things in our lives that we can’t predict. Maybe we shouldn’t be so sure that we know what God is going to do with our lives because honestly I don’t think we do. I think it’s a dangerous game to be playing when you think you can understand the immensity of what God can accomplish through us.

Nothing is impossible with God. So why don’t we imagine the impossible instead of what we think we are capable of?