Unopened Gifts

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Before I check into a hotel, I want to know about the amenities. Is a continental breakfast included? Is there an exercise room (although I probably wouldn’t use it)? Is there a swimming pool? And if so, is it heated and indoors or a cold outdoor pool?

Do you ever wonder if you’ve explored all the amenities included in your “Salvation package?” Is there more Grace available than you are using? How about the “Peace package?” The “Comfort package” is also sizeable. Have you torn into that one? Then there’s the “Joy bag?” Please don’t think I’m directing these questions only to you. I’m writing about this because I’ve been asking myself these same questions lately.

god-gives-gifts-to-the-church-1080x552I was talking with a friend this morning and he said,

There is so much wisdom and blessings that God wants me to have, so many gifts still unwrapped that came with being saved that remain unopened that He wants me to be blessed with. So ironic that they have already been paid for. But the longer I live, the more I realize how much I need Him and still know I do not depend on Him as I should. And I wonder do I have the keys to a lot of doors that remain unlocked because of lack of faith?

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When I look at the many sacrifices Jesus has made to give me an abundant life, I wonder if I’m taking full advantage of all He has for me. If Jesus left the splendor of heaven to come to this cruel world (which He most certainly did), didn’t even have a pillow for His head, was willing to go through torture for me, and then the Father was willing to turn His holy back on His only Son while He was dying for me, I think it is safe to say there was a whole lot of love going on and a glorious purpose behind it all.

gods-gifts-put-mans-best-dreams-to-shame-4If all that was accomplished for sinful mankind, I’m sure the Lord wants us to fully enjoy the benefits of such a sacrifice. Have you ever given someone a gift and they didn’t use it? How did it make you feel? Like the gift was wasted? Undervalued? Like the gift was not suited for its recipient?  When I consider what to give someone, I try to think about what they would enjoy, but mostly what they really need to make life easier or better for them. There is no doubt our Creator did the same for us.

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Paul’s desire for the Christ-followers in Ephesus, is the same for my friends, family, and myself…
Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:3:13-21 NAS and KJ)

200594-gifts-from-god-inspirational-quotes-pinterestMay not even one package be left unopened by any of us! May we continue to not only desire, but take the necessary time and effort to open every single gift God would wish to lavish on us. Funny thing, the mail lady, just this minute, delivered a very nice package to my door. There is no evidence of who sent it. Wow….
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Gaye Hughes

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Living on…”the rest”

maxresdefault-you-have-enoughThis morning my pastor talked about the poor widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7.  After her husband died, the creditors were coming to take her two sons as slaves because she couldn’t pay her debt. Because this woman feared the Lord, she called on His prophet, Elisha for help.

Elisha asked this widow what she had.  She only had a pot of oil.

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Elisha instructed her to borrow all the empty vessels she could from her neighbors, gather her sons and shut the door, and pour the oil into the vessels.  She kept pouring until all the vessels were full, then the oil stopped. This widow went outside and reported to Elisha she had done as he said.

He then told her to go sell the oil, pay her debt, and, “…live thou and thy children of the rest.” Our pastor pointed out that when we believe on Jesus, the biggest problem we will ever have is solved. Our salvation is sealed and we are given eternal life.

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However, as believers, we will have tribulation and adversity just like anybody else.  Sometimes we will have more because the devil fights us to destroy our testimonies, our influence for good in the lives of others, and the spread of the gospel.

But one of the best promises the Lord has given us is that He will never leave us and that He will supply our every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:19)

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God doesn’t just save our souls and then leave us to figure the rest of life out on our own.  He continues to supply our every need as we seek, ask, trust, and depend on Him. His coffers are full and He faithfully supplies “the rest” until our days here are no more.

My husband went to heaven 21 months ago today.  Although I have so much more than the poor widow in 2 Kings,  a lot of my security left with my husband.  But I can testify that God has been so very faithful to supply my every  need.

He has sent many “Elisha’s” and neighbors my way when I’ve had trouble and needed help. I have gotten money in the mail anonymously, help with house and car repairs, wood cut and stacked for the winter and countless other random acts of kindness that lifted me up when I was in need or discouraged.  I am living on “the rest” and believe me, there is plenty there!

My prayer is that I long for His presence in my life more than anything or anyone else and that I will trust Him for the unknown future. I want a deeper understanding of who He is and the depth of His love. I hope this is your prayer too. Have a blessed day!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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Gigi and the “Little Chipmunk” 09-2016

When God is Silent

psalm62v7I was talking  to a very polite lady from my insurance company yesterday. We both knew it was going to take quite awhile to answer all my questions. She was having to do a lot of typing and searching for information.  It was then I heard this sweet comment, “There may be times of silence, but I am here.” It may as well been God himself speaking. My heart had been anxious, but suddenly comfort flooded my soul!

The thoughtfulness of this stranger touched me deeply.  She knew absolutely nothing about me, had never seen me, yet she cared enough to reassure me she was there to help me in spite of the many miles separating us.

Isn’t God’s unconditional love just like that? Yet, He does know me…all my yucky and chose to send His son, Jesus to die in my place even while I was yet a rebellious, unrepentant sinner!

Have there been times in your life when you wondered where God was? Did you doubt He was even aware of your situation? Have you cried out for answers and it seemed your prayers were bouncing off the clouds? Have you wondered just how many prayers it was going to take to get a response from God?  Have you been so desperate that you would gladly accept a, “No” rather  than not hear from Him at all? I have.

I think of poor Joseph that was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery only to then be lied about by Potiphar’s wife. Then he endured the long, lonely nights in the prison when he had been wrongly accused.  (Genesis 37-39) Surely he often wondered, What in the world are you doing, God?  Where are You? But one day EVERYTHING changed and Joseph went from being a prisoner to second in command of Egypt!

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Oh, and think of the thousands of Israelites who lived their whole lives crying out to God for deliverance from the hard bondage in Egypt! Can you image  trying to explain to your children the importance of continuing to pray for God to do a mighty work when they knew their parents,grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. had prayed for generations for exactly the same thing only to have their situation worsen? That took faith! BUT, there came a day God broke the silence and parted the Red Sea, killed their enemies, gave them water from a rock, and bread and meat from the sky.

And then there are the situations we don’t have the luxury of time to wait and pray. Have you been in that situation?   A decision has to be made quickly, as in Queen Esther’s case.  She and her people were about to be annihilated.   When the easiest thing to do would have been to panic , she asked everyone she knew to fast and pray with her for three days and nights. God came through and turned things around for her in a most amazing way!

Although David was a man after God’s own heart, he evidently experienced God’s silence.  Psalm 28:1 begins, Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.  But something soon happened because of what he says in verses 6 and 7,

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Blessed by the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

I think this verse contains  the key to turning our weakness into strength, our helplessness into hopefulness, our sadness into joy, and our torment into praise.

MY HEART TRUSTED IN HIM…. When we turn our focus off of our problems and onto the only One who can solve them, we are helped. Sounds easy enough, right?  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

One thing is for sure, although God’s silence can feel like an ominous cloud and be misunderstood, we can be sure  He is there, quietly working.  This quote is in my house,

I believe….

  • in the Sun even when it is not shining
  • in Love even when I cannot feel it
  • in God even when He is silent

He will NEVER, EVER, leave us alone. When everything in you is screaming differently, you can bank on God’s promises. He is there even when we don’t understand and can’t feel Him. He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  As that lady reminded me yesterday, There may be times of silence, but I am here!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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It’s never too early to teach your grandbaby!