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Serve // Praise & Shine

We will continue the theme of serving the kingdom this week.

Jesus tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that we are all given at least one spiritual gift. Our spiritual gifts are specific ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives according to God’s purpose. These gifts, along with our interests, abilities, hobbies, likes, and dislikes, come together to form who we are and how we participate in the work God is doing all around us.

These gifts, however, aren’t just for ourselves. We’re called to use them to serve others as good stewards of God’s grace (1 Peter 4:10). God takes who He made us to be and matches it with the needs of others.

As we continue to grow, we’ll naturally develop deep care for other people. Our attention will turn away from our own needs to the needs of others (Galatians 5:13).

The Gospel is enacted through local churches all around the world. It is through actions like opening doors, holding babies, pouring coffee, and praying for others that we discover how we are made and how the Lord can use us.

We should also serve outside the church, meeting the needs of others where they are. Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen. As you serve outside the church, you may be the only piece of Jesus that others see in their day.

By serving others, we are awarded the opportunity to know more about who God made us to be. We learn our likes and dislikes. What we can and can’t do well. God will fill in the picture as we discover more about ourselves. He will continue to grow us while He uses us to meet the needs of others.

Light & Salt // Praise & Shine

Jesus paid the ultimate price for humanity’s sins through his death on the cross (Romans 5:8), paving the way for those who believe and repent, not only to experience forgiveness for sin but also eternal salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

This is the good news of Jesus and he commands his followers to share it with the whole world.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Whether it’s in your immediate circles, neighborhoods, or globally, we are commissioned to share the good news of what Jesus Christ has done, is still doing, and will continue to do.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

More than just light, Christ’s followers are also called to be the “salt” of the earth, preserving a world that would quickly turn rancid and corrupt without the saving grace and love of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:13).

This means:

  • Loving their neighbors (Mark 12:30-31); Taking care of the poor (Deuteronomy 15:11).
  • Feeding the hungry (Isaiah 58:10); Clothing the needy (1 John 3:17).
  • Being hospitable to strangers (Matthew 25:35); Healing the sick (Luke 10:9, James 5:14).
  • Forgiving others (Matthew 6:14-15); Promoting justice and mercy (Micah 6:8).
  • Promoting peace (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18); Caring for the captive, the prisoner, and the oppressed (Hebrews 13:3, Matthew 25:36).
  • Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

This is the purpose of the church and the power of Christ’s disciples, we are not just receivers of the gospel but participants in it. We are truly the hands and feet of a living Jesus who is still active in saving the world.

More Than We Can Handle // Praise & Shine

Oftentimes when I am going through a difficult time, friends tell me, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Have you ever been told this? Is it true? Will God never give us more than we can handle?

I don’t know about you, but for me, the last couple of years have been particularly difficult. I have found myself at the end of my rope, wondering how much more I can take.

No matter what we might be going through, the bible should always be where we look for divine inspiration. So what does the bible say about God not giving us more than we can handle?

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation” — or test since it is the same word in Greek — “has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted [tested] beyond your ability [beyond what you are able].”

Let’s read on, “but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” There is the key, he will also provide a way of endurance.

“We” means that we never go through any temptation, trial, or difficulty alone. It is with God’s help that we ate able to do all things.

So what is meant by handle? Does it mean we will never stumble or fail? Nope. We will fail. What it means is that God will never let us stumble or fail to the point that we can’t recover, repent, and be restored.

Here are some verses to back this up:

Philippians 1:6: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Romans 8:30: “Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” He is going to keep you.

1 Peter 1:5: “By God’s power [we] are being guarded through faith for a salvation.” God’s power is guarding me. He won’t let me fail beyond return in any test.

1 Corinthians 1:8: “[He] will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”

More Than We Can Handle // Praise Shine

Oftentimes when I am going through a difficult time, friends tell me, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Have you ever been told this? Is it true? Will God never give us more than we can handle?

I don’t know about you, but for me, the last couple of years have been particularly difficult. I have found myself at the end of my rope, wondering how much more I can take.

No matter what we might be going through, the bible should always be where we look for divine inspiration. So what does the bible say about God not giving us more than we can handle?

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation” — or test since it is the same word in Greek — “has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted [tested] beyond your ability [beyond what you are able].”

Let’s read on, “but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” There is the key, he will also provide a way of endurance.

“We” means that we never go through any temptation, trial, or difficulty alone. It is with God’s help that we ate able to do all things.

So what is meant by handle? Does it mean we will never stumble or fail? Nope. We will fail. What it means is that God will never let us stumble or fail to the point that we can’t recover, repent, and be restored.

Here are some verses to back this up:

Philippians 1:6: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Romans 8:30: “Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” He is going to keep you.

1 Peter 1:5: “By God’s power [we] are being guarded through faith for a salvation.” God’s power is guarding me. He won’t let me fail beyond return in any test.

1 Corinthians 1:8: “[He] will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”