Gifts Refused Or Unused

Have you ever refused a gift someone has given to you because you did not like it? Maybe you took the gift but you put it in a closet or up on a shelf. You never used the gift. It just sit in the dark getting dusty. Have you ever visited someone who cooks you a meal but you refuse it because it  is not food you like. I will use fish as an example. (By the way I love fish, actually I love food. Okay most food.) They fried some catfish or baked some salmon but since you do not like fish you turn the meal down.  Now think about the effort that went in to preparing that meal or what may have been involved in getting you that gift. Now think about the gift God gave us in His Son Jesus. How many people rejected Him when He walked on this earth speaking love and redemption to all who would listen?  Now look around the world today. Are people not doing the same thing today? We all have this wonderful gift from God. Given to us through His mercy and forgiveness and all we have to do is to receive the gift and give thanks. Some out right refuse the gift while others say thank you with a smile yet put the gift up and go about their lives forgetting what was given to them. Living their lives and not appreciating the sacrifice made for them.

Take a moment and reflect on gifts and food that have been given to you. I am sure you were thankful for the effort but did you refuse it, or put it on a shelf? Did the food go bad and you had to through it away? We have discussed the gift of salvation God gave to us in His Son Jesus. Most of you who are reading these words have probably received this gift and are truly grateful. Yet there are other gifts God has given to you that you either refused or put up on a dark shelf and forgot about it. Yet you pray to God for Him to bless you with one specific thing or another, but God has already tried to give it to you. The packaging may not have been to your liking or maybe it was not done exactly like you asked for so the gift is either refused or neglected. Now I am not saying the reason we do not always get when we pray is because of this. I have waited lengthy periods of time for prayers to be answered and sometimes God has told me no I have better. The point I am trying to make is that appreciate the gifts you are given and actually receive them. Then put the gift to use and do not put it away to be forgotten about.

 

Here is a parable written in scripture. I have chosen the ESV version because I wanted the simplicity of the wording to help us better understand the story. My personal preference is NKJV.

Luke 14:15-24 English Standard Version (ESV)

15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[a] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you,[b] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 14:17 Or bondservant; also verses 21 (twice), 2223
  2. Luke 14:24 The Greek word for you here is plural

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The first gift we are given by God is Jesus who is our Savior. One of the acts a person does after receiving Jesus is they are baptized to my a public statement about their belief in Jesus. Then we share with others what He is doing in our lives and how His love is transforming us. From here the list goes on.

Thought:

Think about a gift God has given to you to use.

Question?

Are you using that gift or is it getting dusty on a shelf?

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Testimony / I gave up on life and survived

This is one of the most difficult thing I have to share with the world. I am not seeking your pity nor do I need your judgment. I am sharing this only because I pray to reach if just one person who is at the end of their rope and is ready to jump of of that ledge.

I cannot say that I understand your pain or what has lead you to this point but I pray that you will stop long enough to read these words that  I am writing.

It will be five years this Thanksgiving when my world had grown so dark and the pain was more than I could bear that I did give up on life. Falsely accused and arrested in the middle of the night just a couple of months prior my world was turned upside down. After a lifetime of abuse and a multitude of wrong decisions I was alone and all the pain I had suffered over my life came down upon me like a crushing wave. I am not a coward but had nothing that I felt that was living for. Alone on  a holiday meant for family and giving thanks all I could see was darkness and feel the loneliness of being cut out of my own life.  I lost my will to live. So with what I thought was going to be my last breath I kicked the stool out from underneath me. The belt I used to hang myself did not do the job I thought it would because it stretched that even though I lifted my legs it stretched until I was literally sitting on the floor. Yelling at God and pounding my fist on my floor like a child throwing a temper tantrum that I couldn’t even do this right. I continued to yell and cry until I heard a voice. It was not harsh or condemning but loving. I heard it say, ‘Are you done yet?’  I know you probably think I was crazy and just hearing things. Obviously my mental state was impaired. I did just try to hang myself. Yet as i heard that voice I know I was not imagining anything. It was real. Though no one was physically in my empty home but myself there was someone who was watching over me. I even knew what they meant when they asked if I was done yet. You see this was not the first suicide attempt I had attempted, but my third. So I responded, ‘Yes Lord I am done. Obviously You aren’t done with me yet.’ Then I heard Him say, ‘Get up. It is not over yet.’

So I stood up and took the belt from around my own neck. I was amazed because how long it had stretched and that not mark was left on my neck. (A little note a couple of years later I tried to stretch that same belt and it did not give an inch, so no one can tell me God is not real.) I still had a long road ahead of me and the trials did not go the way I had believed but even on the final day of court when the rest of my world as I knew it came to a crashing end and though I was innocent of the charges I was still found guilty. I lost everything but my life and my home. You won’t believe this but as crushed as I felt, I heard God speak to me again. He said to me, ‘Can you forgive them now?’ I responded with, ‘Not because I want to but because of You I will.’ Even though not one thing went well for me, I knew God was with me. That even though I was found guilty in the court of man I was not guilty in His eyes and that He did not abandon me even when I wanted to end it all. My mother died, I lost my daughter, but God was with me through it all. I won’t say thoughts of giving up have not crossed my mind since but a small still voice says don’t give up. So as hard as it is at times because the battles I still must fight wear me down that I want to toss in the towel and quit, I know that I can’t. I must finish the race. I have not yet reached the finish line.

I will never know why my life did not end that day or why my previous attempts failed, when others who have attempted the same act are gone. I know that I am no better a person than another. My life is no more valuable than anyone else’s life so why am I still here? To be honest only God knows the real reason. My only conclusion I can come to on my own is to share my story and hopefully reach at least one person who is where I was at, or inspire someone else to reach out to someone who is suffering just to let them know they are not alone and that someone does care. Call them or even better visit with them. Don’t push too hard to get them to talk but be there and continue to be there. I did not immediately share my story but a year later I was part of a church who arranged an event inspired by a number of suicides in the area that happened in a very short time period. I saw lives touched and was inspired to start sharing my story. With the holidays upon us I personally know how difficult it is for anyone who suffers from depression and anxiety or is suffering any form of abuse. You may feel unloved, rejected and alone. The pain may be suffocating and the world may be completely dark without light of hope. I was there and I survived but you may not so please don’t give up. If there is no one in your immediate life that you feel safe to turn to there are others that even though they may be strangers who will listen to you who will give you the compassion that you need and even help. Your life is valuable and you are important. So important that God sent His Son to die for you.

Call someone. Get help. Please do not give up. I may not know you but you are in my prayers and I pray you find the love of Jesus and the strength and comfort He has for you.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.  1-800-273-8255  website  http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/#

HELPGUIDE.ORG

If you’re thinking about suicide, please read Suicide Help or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the U.S.! To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit IASP or Suicide.org.

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention-helping-someone-who-is-suicidal.htm

1-800-SUICIDE

Always remember that there are phone numbers that you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,  from any location in the United States:

1-800-273-TALK / (1-800-784-2433)   (1-800-273-8255)

This is only a short list of where you can find help whether you are the one who is struggling or you think you may know someone who needs help please get the help that you need and please do it before it is too late. I know my life choices have been far from right too many times and that I survived but I know that if I try again I won’t survive again. Life is precious please don’t give up because you are precious and nothing can replace you in this world.