Friday, March 30, 2012

Devotional: Never Judge A Book By It's Cover

I was in my room last night and I was thinking about a conversation I had with some of my friends on Sunday about true beauty when it hit me: if we try to adapt our physical appearance to what the world considers true beauty, none of us would live up to expectations. It actually made me mad. I realized that for so long, I was trying to physically be what the world wanted me to be, and I was always getting down on myself because I wasn't adding up. 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 says, "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened because we don not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." If you look at this verse in the sense of how we view our outward appearance, it makes a lot of sense. I don't think I know one person that is truly satisfied with every part of their appearance. The word does say though that this will not always be what we look like. Our bodies are just temporary. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us." If you think about how clay jars are made, it's quite unique. Each work, once the design is finished, must be placed in a kiln. A kiln is a heating source, and you must heat the kiln to 1,300 degrees Celsius. With this type of heat, you never know how your creation may turn out. If you use yourself if relation to this type of heat, it makes sense. Our physical appearance is affected by the heat of the world, both physically and emotionally. None of us are going to look perfect when we come out of the kiln. However, God never intended us to be obsessed with our physical appearance. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." While God doesn't want us to completely let our physical appearance go, he doesn't want that to be the center or our focus. Psalm 139:13-14 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." So next time you're getting ready to go somewhere and you are in panic over how you look, just remember that you are beautiful because God made you beautifully. Don't worry so much about your appearance :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Devotional: "Marco?"........................"Polo!"

Has it ever felt to you like God is far away? You call out for him, but it seems like there's no answer? You pray for things, but never see any results of those prayers? Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Now if you highlight those words "do not see", there lies the problem with our faith. We often expect to "see" things happen in our faith, and yet that isn't always how it works. When we don't see what's going on, our faith tends to lack. Here is a good way to look at it though. Mark 4:26-27 says, "He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seen on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.' " Though we may not see every stage of a plant's growth, that doesn't mean it doesn't grow. When we pray, even though we don't see how God works in answering our prayers, that doesn't mean he's not answering them.

I know many of you have heard the expression "childlike faith". There is a reason why it's called childlike faith. My dad was once giving a teaching on faith and asked one of the younger boys in church to come up front. When the boy came up front, my dad asked him, "Do you lay awake at night worrying about what you will eat the next day?" The boy looked confused. "No," he said. So my dad asked, "Do you worry about how you are going to pay the bills?" Then the boy replied, "My mom and dad take care of that." Boy, wouldn't it be great to have that kind of faith? To wake up each morning knowing that someone else has everything covered? The reason why it's called childlike faith is because it's innocent and trusting and hasn't been tainted. 1 Peter 1:5 says, "...who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." God will help shield your faith through any difficult circumstance, big or small. Though most of us may not have that childlike faith, God will protect what faith we have.

God never promises that there won't be hard times. In fact, God sometimes allows us to go through hard times to make us stronger. James 1:3-4 says, "...because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." Whether our faith is being tested, or the Devil is trying to make us miserable, God promises to be there through ALL of it. God says in his word, "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) So hold onto God. He will be with you whenever you need him. Faith is a part of everyday life and will be put into action in many different scenarios, and God promises to be there through every one of them. Hebrews 10:23, "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for God who promised it faithful."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Devotional: Never Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth

If you are anything like me, you have questioned what your spiritual gifts are, or what each gift is for that matter. I know that I have special gifts, but I always thought that when it came to spiritual gifts, I didn't have what it takes to truly do any good. I was reading my bible last night, praying about what I should do for my next devotional. I had some ideas, but none of them really seemed to pan out. For some reason I kept hitting a wall. So I gave it over to God and that's when he gave me this scripture. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31: "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be a part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not the eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact Gad has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given great honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each of of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those peaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all teachers? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts." This scripture clearly told me that though I may not have the same gifts as others, my gifts are valuable to the body of Christ. This applies to you as well. If you wonder what your gifts are, then pray about it and God will show you. Don't ever think though that your gifts are not of value, because your gift matter just as much as anyone else's. Romans 12:6 says, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us..." Not everyone has the same gifts and God did this for a reason. He has a plan for each person on how they can be used in the body of Christ. Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." So don't feel down! Know that you are special, and you have a purpose! God will use your gifts to do wonderful things!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Devotional: Where Is The Love?

I was thinking of a story the other day that just broke my heart :( It was almost a year ago...I was on YouTube watching a Christian skit that was about judging other people and the effects it can have. This one younger girl had left some crude comments about how God hates gay people and how they are going to hell. I was so bummed out that someone truly believed that. In an effort to share a little love to those who may be judged like that, I left a post on Facebook about how God really feels about his children despite their sins. Well, a friend of mine had started asking me questions about homosexual people; asking me if it was some kind of disease, or if they were really born that way. I honestly didn't know how to answer that question without opening up a can of worms. She then told me about how there was a man that worked with her that was gay. She said that her coworkers and herself didn't like that fact, so they did what they could to run him off and make sure he quit. I heard this and I wanted to cry. I know that homosexuality isn't the only case where people are unfairly judged. There are people out there that are considered "untouchable" by others and it shows a true lack of compassion in the world. In Matthew 25:40 it says, "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' " I didn't even know about this particular bible verse until I was in my first year of high school. I was in a Christian bible study that was held during lunch time for those of us who wanted a little bit of God in our lives during the day. The teacher had several boards put up in front of the room. He asked us to draw pictures of someone that we really didn't like. As soon as we finished drawing them, he pinned them to the boards and told us that we could throw darts at those pictures to release a bit of our anger. As soon as the darts were gone, he took down our pictures, and right behind it was a picture of Jesus. I was like a boot to the head- a major realization that everyone is God's children, and when we hurt one of God's children we do the same to him and Jesus. Luke 6:31-34 says, "Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those that do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be repaid in full." God wants us to show love to others that are considered unlovable or untouchable to the rest of the world. So this week, consider reaching out in love to someone who may be wrongfully judged by others. It may make a big difference in their life!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Devotional: Religion vs. Relationship

Some of my friends and I were discussing religion and why people think it's a bad thing. So many people ask if I am "religious", and yet there are so many sub-text questions that stem from just that one question. There are two parts in answering that question: helping people understand the difference between a religious lifestyle and a relationship with Christ, and how that is reflected.

When non-believers refer to believers as religious, in my experience, they think that we have a "better than thou" attitude, and all we do is live by a set of rules that dictate who is going to heaven and who is going to hell.

People often ask why we believe in God, or why we love him. When I think of how to answer that, I think back to when I accepted Christ in my life. I was only four years old when I lost my dad to cancer. I was always so sad, but my mom always comforted me with a scripture. She would quote the first part of Psalm 68:5 where it says that God would be a father to the fatherless. Being so young, I didn't really understand much about God, but I knew that he loved me enough to be a dad for me. I loved him and still do because he loved and still does love me. It's just like it says in 1 John 4:19, "We love because he first loved us." What people don't understand is when you love God, you want to live a better life. You want to serve him, and do your best to please him. However, somewhere along the way, people believed that you had to live by a religious law in order to be loved and accepted by Christ. Some of the earliest examples refer to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were religious teachers who were all about the law rather than living for Christ. It talks about this very thing in Matthew 15:1-9: Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. they worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' " This problem still exists today. People have been taught rules instead of love. Colossians 2:20-23 says: "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!' These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." In these verses, God clearly states that you have freedom from human regulations when you live for Christ. Yet people still believe that you have to abide by certain rules to achieve salvation. The word of God says differently. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." It is not about works, and this is what Jesus had to say about people who were talking the talk, but not walking the walk...Matthew 7:21-23 says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.'

If all else fails, just let people know how much God loves them. Let them know that it's not religion that dictates who we are and how we act, but our love of Christ. John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Devotional: To Give or Not To Give

This particular devotional is about giving when God calls us to give. I will start with a story that my mom told me. She worked in a food bank that was run by the church we were attending at the time. During those times, she would come across many different people with many different struggles like addictions to drugs, alcohol, or just a lack of income. One day, God had called her to give some money to a couple who had asked for it. My mom was hesitant because these people did drugs. Because she wasn't sure of what to do, she went to ask the pastor for advice. When she told him of the situation, he told her that we should give when God calls us to give because once that money is in that person's possession, it is no longer in our hands. It is between that person and God. He said that God has a plan for that person that we may not understand, and then he gave an example...: "Say God calls you to give money to a drug addict. That person may be going through such serious withdrawals that even if you tried to tell them about the love of God, they wouldn't listen or care. All they would think about is getting their next fix. But you give them the money anyway. That person then goes out and buys drugs and gets their fix. You see them a short time later and they are calm, collected, and aren't so worried about drugs that you can share the love of God with them. They give their lives to the Lord that day and decide to go to rehab so they can live drug free lives. All of this happened because you gave them the money." This story makes an excellent point. So often we are called to give, but then take it upon ourselves to determine whether a person should receive this gift or not. When a person asks for help, we automatically start asking questions, trying to determine if he or she qualifies to receive any gift. However the bible talks about what to do in situations such as these. In Deuteronomy 15:7-11 it says, "If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: 'The seventh year, the year for canceling debts is near.,' so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." The story of the Good Samaritan is a good example of helping someone in need...which goes back to the scripture in Deuteronomy. Luke 10:30-36 says, "...A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he say him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers"? What makes this story so wonderful is that the man gave help freely and without question to the man who was beaten up on the side of the road. He did not stop and say, "Excuse me, but I need to ask you questions before I can help bandage your wounds and make sure you don't die." Harsh example, but true. In the bible it talks about Paul and grace that God gave the Macedonian churches. These people wanted to serve and give to the saints. 2 Corinthians 8:5..."And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will." God blessed these people because they gave what they could and did it according to God's will. It starts off in Jeremiah 29:11 by saying, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord... Though we may not understand why God asks us to do or give certain things, he has a plan that will not only benefit us, but the person he has also called us to give to. Matthew 25:35-36 says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Devotional: Eye of the Tiger's Prey

"It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight. Rising up to the challenge of our rivals..." At least that's what they say in the song. But in some cases we tend to cower in their shadows. Many times, instead of being the tiger, we are the tiger's next victim...We get so scared by the problems that life throws us that we lose our focus on God. Matthew 14:25-33 talks about a similar scenario...: "During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord if it is you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wing, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying. "Truly you are the Son of God." Wow! As bad as this may sound, I don't even know if I would have gotten out of the boat! However, people tend to forget that with God, anything is possible! We, as humans, tend to forget just how powerful God really is. When we doubt God, our focus goes to our problems. We get depressed or angry, and find ourselves in a constant state of panic. Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

In reality, many of us are still babies in Christ. We can only understand certain parts of God's word. When babies feed, they drink milk or eat baby food. They cannot yet digest solid food. Christians are the same in the sense that we cannot always "digest" certain parts of the bible. Now if you look at a toddler, it is hard to keep their attention for more than 5 minutes before they find something else that captures their attention. That is the way it is with Christians too. There is always something in the world that can distract us or get our attention, even if for a brief moment. So in conclusion, we as humans have a small understanding of God's word and therefore can be distracted easily. This is what happened with Peter. He became distracted by the wind and began to sink. What God wants us to do is have faith in him. If the problems, or just things, of this life prove to be distracting, then turn in over to God. On the bright side, Jesus did not let Peter drown. He saved him the same way that God saves us. Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Devotional: Beautifully Deceptive World

"If only I were famous..." 1 year later, check! "If only I were rich..." 2 days later, check! "If only I had a mansion.." 3 months later, check! "If only I had an awesome car..." 1 day later, check! "If only..." What is it that makes the things of this world attractive? Ecclesiastes 2:3-11 says, "...I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few says of their lives. I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit tress in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing tress. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well- the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." So often, we are deceived by the beauty and charm these things of the world offer. While the pursuit of these things may be exciting, once you have them, you lose the feeling of excitement and are left with an empty feeling.

"Oh my gosh, I'm fat!" Most models weigh between 105 and 115. "Oh my gosh, I'm flat chested!" If you're a model, it's not a problem. If you're not a model, the desired cup size is a C or D. Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting..." For many generations, beauty is defined only by physical appearance, however, buying beauty doesn't make life any easier or more pleasant.

Many music and movie stars want fame because they think fame and popularity is wonderful. they quickly realize that they can be surrounded by a million adoring fans and still feel all alone. So often, music and movie stars turn to drugs and alcohol, or develop eating disorders because they are trying to live up to or feel they can't live up to the world's expectations. James 4:1-2 says, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something, but don't get it..." When a person is lying on their death bed, they don't ask for their fancy car, or the trophy they won at the Oscars...They just want some peace and their loved ones by their side. Mark 8:36 says, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" When you live for the world, what are you really living for? 1 John 2:17, "The world and it's desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." Remember this verse anytime your desires for "things" get in the way, when you feel inadequate, or don't feel beautiful... Proverbs 31:30, "...a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Men, remember you are great too! When you put everything that you are in to serving the Lord, you will lack nothing! Psalm 23:1, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Devotional: Fearful Servant vs. Fearful Servant

This particular devotional is about fear in doing the work that God has for you, and overcoming that fear. When I was at Young Women's Bible Study with the rest of the ladies, we had decided that we should have it every Monday rather then every other Monday. Then the girls decided that we should each trade off on doing devotionals on the days we weren't doing book study. My first reaction was pure panic because not only do I have a fear of speaking on front of people, but I was afraid that they would laugh at me, or that I would make a mess of it and not truly get the message across. So that same night, I went home and prayed that God would help me. I very clearly told him that by myself, I couldn't do this and that he needed to do this for me. A few hours later while I was fixing some food for my dad, I hear this voice say to me, "Danika, who is someone you admire most in the bible?" My first thought was Esther. Then it said again, "Why do you like Esther so much?" I thought it was because she was a brave woman with a wonderful heart for God. Then it was like an instant download. All these scriptures started coming to me.... The first scripture is Esther 4:9-16: Hathach went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, "All the king's officials and the people the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king." When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish...." So imagine being Esther in this situation. God has called her to help save her people, but there is the possibility that she might die in the process. Facing possible death can be a scary thing. In the movie One Night With The King, Esther was getting ready to go before the king, and when the king's servant tried to discourage her, she gave a wonderful example of someone she looked up to, who had the right idea of what to do in her situation. This person was David, which brings us to our next scripture, 1 Samuel 17:29-37: "Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?" He then turned away to some else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth." But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it struck it and rescued it from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the Lord be with you." So here is David, a boy with no training, no armor, and no weapons, and he has more faith and courage than all of the soldier's in the army of Israel. One of the many fears of people is that they are not good enough to share the word of God and teach others because they aren't pastors or elders of the church, or they have had a bad past. If you look at Davis and Esther, both of them started out small. Esther as just another Jewish girl, and David as just a shepherd boy, but both of them were used by God to achieve great things. In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says: "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." Now if God gave us the spirit of power, love and self-discipline, he would want us to use that. So often we live in fear of doing the Lord's work whether it be from self-doubt or the doubts and thoughts of the world, that we don't do it. But God challenges us to step outside of what the world has to say. It says in Romans 12:2, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will." If we give in to our fears, aren't we conforming to the ways of the world? If we truly give in to our fears, we become a "fearful servant". This type of servant is one who literally lives in fear of the the world and becomes a slave to it, which turns to anger and resentment. However in Proverbs 9:10 it says: "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." So if we fear the Lord (not as in be scared of him, but have a reverent fear), he will give us the wisdom we need to complete the tasks he has given us. In this case you become a "fearful servant". This type of servant is one who loves and fears the Lord and has a love of serving others and pleasing the Lord. Throughout the bible, there are words of comfort from Jesus, but I think this sums it up perfectly: Proverbs 3:5-6 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."