Empowered by grace

There’s a passage in the Old Testament that really inspires me.

Exodus 31:1-6, Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.

“And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:

God gaveBezalel and Aholiab the skills to be able to make the furnishings and ornamentation for the Tabernacle. God did not tell Moses that these men were born with the talent to do it, He said he put it in them. He filled them with the Spirit of God. To me this speaks of grace, even though the word Grace isn’t specifically used here. I see how they were taken out of the realm of the ordinary and mundane and given special gifts with which they could do what God needed to be done. I am reading the book, Relentless, by John Bevere and he tells how God has enabled him to be able to write books even though he previously had no ability to write.

That is what God does when we are willing. He can take someone who is quite ordinary and use them to do the extraordinary.

2 Timothy 1:9, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Now I’m going to ask a question. Is ‘good works’ only doing charitable deeds? Does ‘good works’ only pertain to spiritual things? Or is it anything that we do? We live in the world and everything good that we do can be used to bring glory to God. If God gives you the ability to be a plumber, you could become the best plumber and in that way bring glory to God by your excellence.

Acts 18:1-3,  After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.

Paul was a tentmaker. He used his hands, as did Aquila and Priscilla. They worked with their hands to earn their living. There are many examples in the Bible of people who worked and brought glory to God by their work. I believe we have to stop seeing our jobs as a necessary evil and start seeing it as something we can use to honour God. If we do our jobs to the best of our ability and acknowledge God we are going to stand out above unbelievers. That’s what we need to do. We cannot be mediocre at what we do while professing to belong to Jesus. In Deuteronomy 28 from verse 1 – 14 there is a list of all the blessings which we are entitled to. Will we be able to claim to be blessed if we are doing a really bad job of whatever it is we do? We have to call on the grace of God so that we can perform better than anyone else. If you are a salesman you should be the salesman of the year. If you are an artist you should be a celebrated artist. Do I make sense? If you have a hobby, it should bring you joy and you should do it well. We are not to stand down to unbelievers and believe that we are less because we are Christians. We are the children of the Most High God. We are anointed and blessed and we are headed for Heaven. How can we not prosper?

You don’t get old

Last Sunday in our church a gentleman delivered a word from God. He said that the older people shouldn’t think that their time has passed, they still have a very important role to play in the church. It was so encouraging because I have often heard older people say that they used to do this and that, but they are too old now. I don’t think we can ever get to old to work for God or to play a role in spiritual matters. It is our bodies that get old, not our souls. I still feel very young and I’m quite certain I’ve passed the halfway mark of my years on earth, and I don’t feel at all old. My body can’t do everything it used to when I was 20 or 30 but on the inside, in the place that matters, I do not feel like I’m wearing out at all. When our bodies die, which they will, our souls live on.

Dr Michelle Strydom writes the following in her book, Healing comes through sanctification of the heart:

The brain is the only organ in the body that doesn’t age… it matures. You can use your amazing brain to help your body heal as well as prevent disease in your life. With correct use your brain should become more and more efficient as you become older. However, if you don’t use your brain you will not improve as you age, which is unnatural. You brain is designed in such a way that it naturally becomes more brilliant the more you use it.

People should not believe that their intellect and their usefulness is going to diminish as they get older. Except for wisdom we also have unlimited potential to improve our mental capacity and to play a very useful part in the body of Christ. The older we become the more valuable our contribution to the church should be. We should be soaked in the Holy Spirit, versed in Scripture and have the wisdom of years of walking with Jesus. We should not for one minute think that we should be handing over the reins to younger people. Just think about what happens when we die. We are going to heaven and the part of us that goes to heaven is our soul and our spirit. Are we going to sit around heaven in our new regenerated bodies with old souls that have forgotten the joy of our salvation? I don’t think so!

Each and every person has a place in the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:7-31, Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

There is a place for each and every person in the church. The place isn’t one of taking a back seat or being a pew warmer. It is a place that adds value to the rest of the members. Each person has gifts and the gifts are without repentance.

Romans 11:29, For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

If your gift was prophecy in 1972, then it is still going to be the same in 2019. You might have some added gifts, but God doesn’t take away or recall gifts that you have been given. You are going to have to start using those gifts again if you let them stagnate. Dust off the cobwebs and get excited about being a child of the living God!

Use your gift

I am listening to a CD featuring the choir of the University of Johannesburg.  I bought it today at the Grahamstown Arts Festival after we watched their performance.  It was much more than a performance though, it was an emotional experience.  Their voices carried us through a whole spectrum of emotions from goosebumps, tears and nostalgia to joy and laughter.  These young people (and their conductors) know their stuff.  These young people do way more than merely sing and entertain. https://www.uj.ac.za

We need different people with different talents to make our lives richer and more beautiful.  We also need to develop our own talents and gifts so that we can contribute to society.  The problem we often have is thinking that we aren’t ‘good enough’. When I listen to these young voices I know that their singing talents outstrips mine by far.  My family will tell you that I actually shouldn’t sing anywhere except in the shower.  But I have other talents and passions that I can use.  All of us do.  We must remember that one gift isn’t  greater that another one.  I also believe that we didn’t receive gifts, talents or abilities for use in private only.  I heard a beautiful song today that was written by a lady in a small town and only discovered after her death.  Apparently she had written dozens of very good songs  over her lifetime but had never publicised them.  I’m just wondering what joy she would have experienced if she had heard one of her songs performed by a choir?

I know that everyone who writes music, or paints, or acts won’t become world famous, but for every gift their has to be a recipient.  By that I mean if you paint a picture it should be painted to be enjoyed by somebody.  You didn’t receive that talent to satisfy yourself.  If you sing, there should be someone who can listen to your voice and be touched in som way; made richer for the experience.

Before I get too serious here, I want to share my recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookies with you. I found a recipe for GF sugar cookies on pinterest and adapted it.  They are really delicious. This is the link: http://pin.it/BG0hSIf

This is my version:

3 cups gluten free flour (I mix equal parts of chickpea, tapioca, rice and potato flour) If you use a commercial GF flour which contains Xanthan Gum don’t add any more

3 teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips (depending on how much you like chocolate)

250 g margarine (I used cordon bleu baking margarine)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons milk


Mix the dry ingredients (except chocolate) in a bowl.  Beat the butter and sugar till light an fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat till combined.  Add the dry ingredients and mix till a crumbly mixture is formed (use the dough attachment on your beater, or your hands).  Add the chocolate chips and knead till a firm dough is formed.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface (about 5mm thick). Cut out shapes and place on baking paper on a baking sheet and bake at 180 degree Celcius till golden (about 10 – 12 minutes).  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool (if you have any self control).

gf cookies

Delicious gluten free choc chip cookies

In conclusion, whatever talent you have, please use it. Don’t think its not good enough. You are unique and what you have inside of you is exactly what someone else may need to make it through their day.